"He wants to be here": A tired offseason statement may yet prove to be worthwhile

While fans may have been tired of hearing about how certain players wanted to be Cardinals, there might actually be something to what John Mozeliak was saying this entire time.
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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We heard it all offseason long when the Cardinals signed veteran players who were past their prime such as Matt Carpenter, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn.

"He wanted to be here," or "veteran leadership."

It got old to hear that constantly, as it would have made much more sense for the Cardinals to go for pitchers like Jordan Montgomery and Dylan Cease instead in order to be a World Series contender.

But while I maintain that this is the path they should have taken, could there be something to what John Mozeliak has been saying this entire time?

Am I tired of poor decisions being made by the organization and coaching staff? Yes. But hear me out on this one, my fellow Cardinals fans.

We'll get into these constant offseason statements and why what Mozeliak was talking about could actually really benefit this team.

How 'veteran leadership' can transform the Cardinals

While the club's performance last year was nothing short of embarrassing, there were some missing voices in the clubhouse. While it's not an excuse for the Cardinals to have been as bad as they were, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, two veteran leaders, were missing.

This isn't to say that Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Adam Wainwright aren't good veteran leaders. They are, or were in Wainwright's case since he is now retired.

But losing Pujols and Molina obviously hurt the Cardinals in a big way.

While Carpenter, Gibson, and Lynn are past their primes, they are guys who have done it before and will benefit the clubhouse culture. They will hold their fellow teammates accountable and speak up when something is wrong.

While it's still early in the season, these additions already appear to have benefitted the Cardinals. For example, on Tuesday, they fell behind early but punched back and ended up winning the game. That wasn't something the 2023 club could do easily.

A similar moment took place in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Cardinals were down late and scored five runs to take the lead. And when they gave the lead-up, they never quit, punched right back, and ended up securing a win.

Keep in mind that this is all taking place while Sonny Gray, the team's ace is on the injured list. The lack of an ace was a major problem for the Cardinals last year, and they need Gray back as soon as possible.

But even in his absence, Gibson and Lynn both recorded strong starts in their official Cardinals debuts. When Gray returns, the club will get a significant boost from having an ace. He's also somebody who is going to lead.

Now let's get into "He wanted to be here."

I know it sounds corny, but isn't that what you want, guys that want to be Cardinals and wear the Birds on the Bat with pride?

When you have guys that want to play for each other, the dynamic of a team becomes that much stronger. Last year, there wasn't that sense of camaraderie, much less accountability.

This year, the vibes already appear to be different. The club seems happier to me, and better able to rebound from adversity. The Cardinals obviously got crushed in Los Angeles, but they responded right away by winning a series against the Padres.

That can happen when everybody is pulling on the same rope. When Gray comes back, the team will get a significant boost. Then, when the trade deadline comes around, the Cardinals can add that final piece that could make them a threat down the stretch.

Last year's trade deadline proved beneficial, as the Cardinals added a lot of young prospects in trades that can be used as leverage in other trades if they want to finally make that big move.

For now, though, the team appears to be in better spirits than they ever were last year, and if that continues, the Cardinals could be fun to watch again.

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