The St. Louis Cardinals have been quite successful in the 2000s, with only one losing season this millennium. That’s very impressive, but there’s still some realities the franchise’s fans must face.
The Cardinals are batting the Milwaukee Brewers for the National League Central crown, as well as attempting to fend off the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and other teams for the third and final Wild Card berth. A postseason spot isn’t assured, but it’s certainly promising.
The trade deadline could see St. Louis bring in some major reinforcements, with starting pitching, relief pitching, additional offensive thump, and defensive upgrades all possible paths to strengthen the roster. The team has the prospects to make multiple deals happen, as well as the financial support of a fervent and loyal fanbase.
The franchise’s twelfth World Series championship is a real possibility. Yes, the playoffs are somewhat a crapshoot, with – for the first time ever – 12 teams battling throughout October to claim the ultimate hardware. Surviving every round of the postseason and winning the title is the dream of (nearly) every team at the start of spring training.
St. Louis is in the running every season for an opportunity to win it all, bringing to battle competitive payrolls and an excellent drafting and development machine that churns out above-average players like clockwork and provides prospects that can be transformed into star regulars such as Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.
Still, there are limitations to what the team is willing to do. Those payrolls won’t approach the Competitive Balance Tax threshold, and a team full of mostly above-average players will tend to be an above-average team, one that wins around 90 games per year but rarely is one of the 2-3 absolute best squads in Major League Baseball.
Given that, there are realities Cardinals fans must face. Here are four of them for Redbird rooters to consider.