The St. Louis Cardinals have backed themselves into a corner. They have not developed impact pitching in recent memory, nor invested into it through trade or free agency. They are now coming off one of their worst seasons in franchise history, and are faced with the task of acquiring three starting pitchers this offseason, with at least two of those names being top-of-the-rotation talents.
If recent history tells us anything, the organization just is not going to go out and accomplish that. Maybe they'll get one top-end starter, and maybe they would swing a trade, for someone, but expecting them to spend big bucks on a bunch of starting pitchers has never been how they do things.
Well, it sounds like that may finally be changing.
Reporting indicates the Cardinals ownership is ready to spend
When asked if the front office and ownership see eye to eye on the need to increase payroll this offseason, Derrick Goold's reporting gave indications that real change is coming.
"That is an answer that will gain clarity in the coming month, for sure. But all indications from people who know is that, yes, they are in an agreement in what the team needs and how to make that happen in the modern market. Again, we'll see. Actions speak louder than board meetings. And they may make bids that don't get players. The bids will be telling, even if the player elects to go elsewhere."- Derrick Goold
Well, that is a really big change of pace from what we have grown accustomed to with the Cardinals. It feels like every offseason, there is a big move or two that just makes too much sense for the front office to look into, and yet, they remain out of those markets, instead aiming for incremental upgrades and "safe" moves.
It's easy to forget that this front office and ownership group has taken big swings before. They've traded for Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Areando, although many like to discredit those moves because "they didn't give up much". Well, they've also taken major swings at Marcell Ozuna and Jason Heyward in the past. They've also made a record offer to David Price, outbid the Cubs on Heyward in free agency, and agreed to acquire Giancarlo Stanton and his record deal from the Marlins before he vetoed the deal.
So as you see the Cardinals linked to names like Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray, Blake Snell, and others this offseason, there seems to be real reason to believe that this will be the offseason where they flip the script on what we expect from them.
They're going to have to prove things are different though, and I'm getting more and more optimistic that will be the case.