Using past retooling teams as a template for the Cardinals

Rather than tearing it down and rebuilding, the St. Louis Cardinals will likely retool this year once again. These past retools provide a good blueprint.
League Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Seven
League Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Seven / Elsa/GettyImages
1 of 4

After another tough start to the season, the St. Louis Cardinals are looking more and more like trade deadline sellers with each passing day.

There are plenty of ways the team could go at the trade deadline, and while fans would prefer the team to take the "buyers" route, a mixture of buying and selling is most likely from John Mozeliak, a retool if you will.

Mo has a plethora of players on expiring contracts on the roster; Paul Goldschmidt, Keynan Middleton, Andrew Kittredge, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, Brandon Crawford, Matt Carpenter, and Giovanny Gallegos are all fully-fledged free agents or players with team options attached for 2025. In a fire sale situation, it's possible most of these players depart.

Shipping off expiring contracts, something the organization did last year, would constitute a "retool" rather than a "rebuild". Now, if players like Nolan Arenado, Ryan Helsley, Sonny Gray, and Willson Contreras are traded, Cardinal fans may have to hunker down for a rebuild.

Given the fanbase's desire to see an annual contender, a retool may be the most ideal route for the team this year. Despite lackluster offensive performances from the players of the future such as Lars Nootbaar, Nolan Gorman, and Jordan Walker, the team still has ample youth with talent on the major league roster. In the minors, guys such as Thomas Saggese, Victor Scott II, and Chase Davis are scratching at the upper levels. The future is at least stable if not bright for the Cardinals.

I wanted to take a look at past retools that ended up being successful as a template for the Cardinals this year. Some organizations, like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, have long track records of success despite less-than-optimal draft picks. Others, such as the Washington Nationals, were bottom dwellers for a time and could reap the benefits of high draft picks.

The Cardinals fall into the former category, a historically successful team despite non-optimal draft slots. Regardless, we can still use teams that have teetered between tanking and thriving.

With this exercise, I'll analyze what the team did in their worst season to trade away players and how they experienced success in the subsequent season.

Here are 4 recent "retool" success stories from other organizations.