While the Cardinals sit at home this postseason and ponder what went wrong, the Rangers have taken the rest of the baseball world by storm. Texas won 90 games and captured the second Wild Card in the American League, barely being edged out by the Astros for the AL West title.
But as a Wild Card team, the Rangers have torn through just about everybody this postseason. They swept the Rays in the Wild Card Series and later swept the Orioles in the ALDS. Yesterday, they staked out a 2-0 lead in the ALCS over the Astros.
Texas may be a team of destiny this October. They've defied the odds so far and are looking dangerous, similar to Cardinals teams of the past. But the Rangers run of success should come as no surprise.
In fact, they have the components of a complete team, and if the Cardinals are going to turn things around in 2024, they should look no further than at what the Rangers have been able to do.
The Cardinals should follow in the Rangers' footsteps
Obviously, almost everything went wrong for the Cardinals this year. They had little to no pitching, and it showed early on. After a dreadful 10-24 start, they never quite recovered and ultimately finished 71-91.
The Cardinals had a relatively quiet offseason, with their only significant move being the signing of Willson Contreras. On the contrary, the Rangers were aggressive. They already had a powerful lineup entering the 2023 season, but they were short on pitching.
However, it didn't take long for them to build a contending club. They added Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney to a rotation that was desperate for starters. And as such, the rotation has been the absolute strength of the team.
Not unlike the Cardinals, they had some setbacks, albeit not as severe. deGrom went down early in the year, and they even lost Eovaldi for a period of time. But General Manager Chris Young didn't panic and instead chose to further invest in the team's rotation.
Texas added deGrom's former Mets teammate Max Scherzer on July 29. The following day, they added Jordan Montgomery in a trade with the Cardinals. Now, Montgomery is serving as the team's ace and has a 2.08 ERA this postseason.
All of this is coming after the Rangers lost 94 games in 2022. They knew they had holes to fill, and they addressed them. As a result, they find themselves two wins away from their first World Series since 2011. The Cardinals did not add pitching, and it led them to where they are now.
These days, it's common for the teams that spend big money to compete for the World Series. Texas did just that this past offseason.
The Cardinals head into the offseason in need of three starting pitchers to bolster their collapsed rotation. The Rangers did things the right way, and this is exactly what the Cardinals should strive for.
It's been since 2013 that the Cardinals were in the World Series and the obvious reason why they haven't been in World Series contention since then is their lack of top-level starting pitching, something Texas has a lot of.
And so, when John Mozeliak conducts an audit for this season and ponders over how the Cardinals can get back into contention, he can look to the Rangers as a model.