It seems as though every year we are surprised when the St. Louis Cardinals are still playing baseball deep into October. We marvel at their ability to consistently be one of the best teams in baseball season after season. Perhaps it’s time we stop being so surprised by the sustained success of the Cardinals organization.
The Cardinals organization has shown the great ability to replace talent and continue winning, regardless of who it is that needs to be replaced.
The team won with Walt Jocketty as the general manager. He left and they have continued winning with John Mozeliak at the helm.
The team won with Tony LaRussa as manager. He retired and they have continued winning with Mike Matheny in the dugout.
The team won with Albert Pujols playing hall of fame-caliber baseball. He left and they have continued winning with a slew of replacements.
You get the idea.
This offseason, the Cardinals were dealt a tough blow when their top prospect and star Oscar Taveras was tragically killed in a car accident. It was an unthinkable event that no team or family should ever have to experience. Following his death, Mozeliak waited a few weeks before engaging in any activity to find his replacement, out of respect to Taveras and his family.
Then on Monday, the Cardinals reached a deal to acquire right fielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for starter Shelby Miller and minor leaguer Tyrell Jenkins. With that trade, St. Louis instantly added a crucial piece to their 2015 campaign. It was a shrewd move that very few of us who cover the league saw coming. It was a pure St. Louis move.
The Cardinals needed a third basemen, they went out and got Scott Rolen.
The Cardinals needed a left-handed hitter to balance their lineup, they went out and got Larry Walker.
The Cardinals needed a strong shortstop, they went out and got Rafael Furcal.
The Cardinals needed a consistent hitter in right field, they went out and got Carlos Beltran.
The Cardinals needed another starting pitcher to insert into their rotation, they went out and got John Lackey.
The Cardinals needed an on-base presence to man the outfield, they went out and got Jason Heyward.
To put it plain and simple, the Cardinals just get it done. When there are holes on their roster, they make the necessary moves to fill them. But instead of just focusing on improving through trades, St. Louis continues to build a solid farm system. By doing so, they have the opportunity to fill their holes through players in the organization or by using their farm system to acquire missing pieces.
So often we talk about teams who either build through the draft or teams who try to improve through trades. Seldom do we give discuss the team who so successfully finds the perfect balance between both avenues – the Cardinals.
Instead of being surprised when the Cardinals make trades out of nowhere like the Heyward move or when they are playing yet again in October with a roster that looks considerably different than the year before, perhaps we should just sit back and enjoy watching a rare era of sustained success in the league.
Cover Photo: Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports
Latest posts by Grant E. Doepel (see all)
- Podcast: Is It Time To Be Worried About The Kentucky Wildcats? - January 18, 2016
- PODCAST: Predicting the NFL Wild Card Round - January 7, 2016
- NFL Picks: Week 1 - September 10, 2015