By: Hunter Schmidt
The St. Louis Cardinals currently sit two and a half games back from the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central, but a larger problem is looming within the organization.
St. Louis hasn’t played in a postseason game since 2015 and the Cardinal faithful is starting to get irritated with the front office. The team didn’t make any major moves at the trade deadline, instead opting to trade for Zac Rosscup and claim Adalberto Mejia off waivers. The bullpen has been a major strength for this team in 2019 and has helped them stay afloat even though the starters have struggled on the road and the offense has sputtered for long spurts of the season.
The Cardinals didn’t pursue a fifth starter at the deadline, choosing to insert Michael Wacha back into the rotation instead. He rewarded them with 3.2 innings, 6 earned runs, and balls that were getting absolutely murdered by Dodgers hitters last night.
Cardinals starters Daniel Hudson, Adam Wainwright, and Michael Wacha have combined for 12.2 innings, 18 hits, and 12 earned runs to start off this West Coast road trip. The offense has combined for just five runs through three games and managed just two hits against rookie pitcher Tony Gonsolin, who has a 4.95 ERA through 12 starts in AAA. He had given up seven runs, five of which were earned, in just eight innings so far with the Dodgers before last night. Gonsolin is the fifth ranked prospect in the Dodgers organization, but that type of offensive performance is unacceptable.
Randy Arozarena is slashing .376/.446/.570 for the Memphis Redbirds, but the Cardinals have yet to promote him because they claim there isn’t a 40-man roster spot for him and that playing time would be limited. They would rather play Dexter Fowler in center who is batting .176/.263/.353 over his last 15 games. The Cardinals didn’t want to trade their prospects at the deadline, yet they refuse to reward performance at the minor league level by promoting those that are worthy.
Matt Carpenter returned to the big leagues after his minor league stint where he went 2 for 26, only to be inserted directly into the leadoff spot. He has only one hit in nine at-bats since returning and currently has a slash line of .212/.315/.364 for the season. The Cardinals are dead last in almost every statistical category across baseball for the number one spot in the lineup. Kolten Wong has hit .344 over his last 30 games with a .412 on-base percentage, yet Mike Shildt continues to hit him towards the bottom of the lineup.
The Cardinals have over $62 million committed to Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler,. and Brett Cecil next season. That’s nearly half of the organization’s payroll invested in four players who will be over the age of 34 next year hitting for a combined .237 this season, and a pitcher who hasn’t thrown a pitch in 2019. They have $33 million committed to Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter in 2021, so they’re not coming off the books anytime soon.
Recap: The organization didn’t make any trades to bolster the back end of the rotation, they refuse to promote prospects that are producing at the minor league level, continue to hit struggling veterans at the top of the lineup, and are currently salary strapped with guys in their 30’s for the next two years. This isn’t a great combination for a team that is trending down to start the month of August and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015. Buckle up John Mozeliak, the next few months could be turbulent.
Cover photo via: Huy Mach, AP Photo/St. Louis Post Dispatch
Follow Edge Sports Network on Twitter: @TheEdgeSN
Follow Hunter Schmidt on Twitter: @hunterrschmidtt