Past success is no guarantee of future success, but the St. Louis Cardinals are clinging to the hope that they will turn back the clock after reuniting with longtime Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter on a one-year, $740,000 major league deal. This came after the team signed another former Cardinal, Lance Lynn, to round out their rotation and hired retired Cardinals Daniel Descalso and Yadier Molina to serve as the bench coach and in a front office role, respectively.
The Cardinals have pointed to a need for leadership and a winning culture in the clubhouse going forward, and the addition of four players who experienced years of successful Cardinals teams should provide an injection of that energy. But the Cardinals, with their extremely risk-averse tendencies, are choosing to go with tried-and-true solutions instead of looking in a new direction, which reinforces the club's insular nature and its resistance to change.
The much-derided "Cardinal Way" veered terribly off course over the past season, and getting back to the secret sauce (or salsa) of that concoction appears to be the prime reason the team signed all of these players. But the Cardinals are no longer cutting-edge, and bringing in personnel from teams that know how to win in today's game would have been the optimal choice, as the Cardinal Way has continued to show its age and increasing irrelevance in the modern game.
Some players in the clubhouse last season clearly did not buy in to the Cardinal Way, and it needs to adapt and change to suit the current player in today's game. The addition of these players who had success in the past signifies the team's steadfast refusal to adapt its mantra to coincide with the modern methods and strategies that constitute winning baseball.
The Thomas Wolfe novel "You Can't Go Home Again" tells the story of an author who writes about the town he used to live in, but he is met with fury from its residents because the depiction of the town and its people is outdated and seeped in the author's nostalgia. The same is true for the Cardinals: John Mozeliak and the front office can bring back players who helped the team win in years past, but times have changed, and it is exasperating that the Cardinals don't seem willing or able to change with them.