I love the off-season. It is fun to see what fans think the Cardinals should do to fill out the roster. The Cardinal fans are passionate. Even with a down year, over three million people showed up to the ballpark.
The players on the team build a following that is a bit different than a lot of teams. If you play hard and give back to the community, St. Louis fans tend to overlook a lot. Even if you leave and play with another team the Cardinals fans will still root for you. When Willie McGee was traded it was a sad day. When he had the chance to come back and play for the Cardinals again, he came back to a fan base that considers him one of their favorites; it was a great day. Albert Pujols after becoming one of the best players to ever wear the Cardinals uniform left us for the Angels. On his first trip back to St. Louis wearing the Angels uniform, he received one of the longest, loudest, and most heartfelt standing ovations that still bring chills.
This connection to former players can also be a bit of a drawback and will sometimes cloud our judgment when looking at the list of players we think the Cardinals should sign. To me it’s a bit like thinking about an old girlfriend and thinking the relationship wasn't that bad, only to find out it really was that bad.
With that in mind, when I hear that we should bring back Jordan Hicks or Michael Wacha I think we should pump the brakes a bit. We forget all the injuries or the fact that a player is now 32 years old. Sometimes it’s better to just move forward. However, If you really want to build a team with nothing but former Cardinals players who are now free agents, that can be done.
Catcher: Andrew Knizner
First Base: Luke Voit
Second Base: Kolten Wong
Third Base: Matt Carpenter
Shortstop: Paul DeJong (just Signed with the White Sox)
Left Field: Tommy Pham, David Peralta, Corey Dickerson
Center Field: Harrison Bader
Right Field: Randal Grichuk
Starting Pitchers: Jordan Montgomery, Dakota Hudson
Relief Pitchers: Jordan Hicks, Adam Ottavino, John Brebbia, Shelby Miller, Nick Wittgren, Drew VerHagen, Alex Reyes
There were several others that could have been on this list but some ex-Cardinals have already found new homes. If you want to look back and bring some of these players back to St. Louis, you have a big list to choose from. You just have to decide if you would rather watch a comfortable rerun or take a chance on an exciting new show.