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The Cardinals Have Not Filled Any Holes This Offseason

The Cardinals Have Not Filled Any Holes This Offseason Bettina Woolbright/ via


If you think the Cardinals have done everything they can to get back to the playoffs in 2018, don’t let them fool you.  The Cardinals have not filled any holes this offseason.  Despite some early coaching changes, and the addition of Marcell Ozuna, it has been another offseason of big talk, and little action.

The Cardinals Have Not Filled Any Holes This Offseason

St. Louis struggled to win 83 games last season, exposing some major needs.  Most notably, the need for a big bat, and a closer.  Other needs included more bullpen help, and another front end of the rotation starter.  The first two were made out to be priorities in season ending press conferences.  Priorities that would be addressed this offseason, through the free agent market, or via trade.

The Big Bat

John Mozeliak and Michael Girsch did a good job of trying to bring in Giancarlo Stanton, who would have definitely filled the need for a big bat.  However, their efforts were all for not, as Stanton declined the trade to St. Louis, in favor of New York.  The Cardinals’ front office then pivoted to other Marlins outfielders, eventually landing Ozuna.  Ozuna had a great season in 2017.  So far though, it has been his only great year.  The Cardinals are banking on him being that guy again, but, it’s hard to say what he will be.  He is certainly a welcomed addition to the team, and a good one for the price, but, he isn’t the guy, that the Redbirds desperately need in their lineup.

Closer and Other Bullpen Help

It is no secret that the Cardinals haven’t had a real closer since Jason Isringhausen.  They’ve had some guys fill in, and some had short-term success, Ryan Franklin, Jason Motte, Trevor Rosenthal, but none have been able to sustain their performance.  This was something the Cardinals seemed to realize shortly after last season ended.  Now, Luke Gregorson, and his 4.57 ERA from 2017, has been the only addition to the bullpen.  Despite guys like Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Juan Nicasio, and Addison Reed, all being available, and some going at reasonable costs, the Birds decided to go the cheap route.  Gregorson, according to Matheny, is set to be the team’s closer come opening day, with Tuivailala likely to get his chance, the closer’s role is yet another hole carried over from last season.

Front End Starter

A major concern amongst St. Louis media, and fans, is the innings dilemma.  With Adam Wainwright on a steady decline and one year older, an inconsistent Michael Wacha, and a young Luke Weaver, Carlos Martinez is the closest thing to a sure thing in the Cardinals rotation.  The departure of Lance Lynn also leaves a lot of innings on the table.  Rather than making a trade for a starter, or paying for a guy like Yu Darvish, the Cardinals went overseas to try and solve this problem.  Enter Miles Mikolas.  Mikolas had impressive numbers in Japan, but he has only thrown over 185 innings one time.  Bringing him in over other options leaves the Cardinals with another need that they have failed to properly address.

What it Means

There is still some offseason left, but I no longer expect any big moves before Spring Training.  This roster will win some games, because they are better than last season, but I fear they may extend their streak of missing the postseason to three years.  Too many question marks remain, and they are counting on too many guys to repeat career seasons.  Unless the unexpected does happen, this will have been another disappointing offseason.