Do the Cardinals plan or just react?

No fifth starter is just one more indication that the answer is react.
St Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox
St Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox / Leon Halip/GettyImages

"It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark." - Howard Ruff’s quote about planning. 

I don’t know how to answer that today. We’re navigating it every time it comes up.” This was the answer Oliver Marmol gave about plans for a fifth starter.

Some things you just can’t expect. But you can always plan for the worst and hope for the best. The Cardinals are spending a lot of time navigating this season by letting the worst happen and then making a plan. 

It started during the off-season. The outfield was supposed to be Nootbar, Edman, and Walker. Edman’s injury led to scrambling. So far this year, Siani, Scott II, Carlson, and Nootbar have all tried to take over that spot. Defensively, the Cardinals rank 28th in fielding percentage for center fielders. 26th in put-outs, and a negative one on defensive runs saved. As bad as the defense is, the offense from the center field position is worse. The Cardinals center fielders combine for a .176 batting average, ranking last. There has only been one home run hit. This group ranks last in OPS and SLUG. WAR is currently a -0.9, again ranking them last. 

The other part of the Edman puzzle is that even though they decided to leave him in centerfield this year and not move him all over the diamond, they still regarded him as a backup at short. While Masyn Winn has exceeded expectations, they took a gamble by assuming a rookie would be prepared for the most crucial position on the infield. They seemed to have no plan if he failed. In February, they realized they needed a backup since they didn’t have Edman and had no choice but to sign Brendon Crawford. He is the definition of an “in case of emergency, break glass” type of player. Only Jose Fermin and Pedro Pages have fewer at-bats. 

And now they realize they don’t have a legitimate fifth starter. The Cardinals were counting on Steven Matz to be that guy. A pitcher that since 2021 has averaged 72 innings a year. Perhaps one could admit that was poor planning. Also, if they had a better pitcher at the top of the rotation, this wouldn’t seem so bad. What would the plan be if Sonny Gray got injured? Based on history, they will create that plan after Sonny Gray gets injured. 

The Cardinals should have been building their ark sometime last year.