It has been quite the wild ride for the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization these past couple of weeks, and while it may not have been a recent World Series championship in the books, the Cardinals have been under a series of ups and downs this offseason to say the least. The 2020 season for the St. Louis Cardinals was the first season in which the team did not allow any fans into the stadiums; unfortunately, this was the case for the entire MLB, as baseball commissioner Rob Manfred approved a mandatory “no-attendance” policy for each of the 30 ballparks.
Despite the 2020 regular season’s downsides, the St. Louis Cardinals have made a series of hopeful acquisitions in order to help lead the organization to success for the upcoming years. As of February 1, the Rockies and the Cardinals announced the blockbuster trade of All-Star third-baseman Nolan Arenado, sending Arenado to the Cardinals in return for minor league prospects including infielder Mateo Gil, pitching prospects Tony Locey and Jake Sommers, third baseman Elehuris Montero, and Major League pitcher Austin Gomber, one of the Cardinals’ key bullpen arms since the second half of the 2017 season.
In addition, the Rockies have also sent up to $51M to the Cardinals in order to help defray Arenado’s huge contract. Arenado, a widely known all-star with a career batting average of .290, along with 8 gold gloves and 4 platinum NL gold glove awards for his superb third-baseman skills, has the type of impactful and crucial skills on the diamond that can improve any major-league team tremendously. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Arenado is also coming off a subpar season, hitting a mere .253 with only 8 home runs. Luckily for the Cardinals, most all-star players and regular-known players have had subpar seasons – examples including Francisco Lindor, Jose Altuve, J.D Martinez, Christian Yelich (2018 NL MVP, 2019 NL MVP Runner-up), Javier Baez, and numerous players to follow. There have been a number of speculations as to why many all-star players struggled drastically during the 2020 season, but none of which have any correlation. While it is unfortunate, baseball will likely not be the same for a long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its mutating strains affecting the rest of the world currently.
The Cardinals have also resigned their franchise all-star catcher Yadier Molina for approximately 1 year at $9M. Noted as a St. Louis legend to many Cardinals fans and baseball fans around the world, Molina has helped lead the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011, and National League pennants in 2004 and 2013. The list also includes nine All-Star Game appearances, a Silver Slugger award, nine Gold Glove awards, four Platinum Glove awards, and a Roberto Clemente award, a reward typically given to players for their contributions off the field. “I also said that if the Cardinals want me, that’s the only team I want to play for,” Molina mentioned to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on January 2020. It is simple to say that Yadier Molina’s clubhouse leadership and experience is vitally important for a major league club if their sole intentions are to win big, nevertheless, the Cardinals have made some very crucial acquisitions and dismissals of certain under-performing players in order to help lead their organization to success this upcoming 2021 season.
St. Louis has also resigned their former ace and current head of the pitching staff Adam Wainwright to a one year deal, worth approximately $8M. Wainwright had received other offers from other teams, potentially worth more money than that of St. Louis’ contract offer. However, Wainwright has been noted to say that he is willing to be a lifelong Cardinal, and hopefully retire side-by-side with his partner-in-crime Yadier Molina. Wainwright first started his career with the Cardinals in 2005 and has a career 3.38 ERA in 15 seasons, along with a 2.89 career postseason ERA.
The Cardinals will start their Spring Training schedule on February 28 and will play a limited number of teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes the Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Houston Astros, and the Washington Nationals – at least 6 games played against each individual team. The games are expected to be televised on Fox Sports Midwest and other providers.
- Cade Slaughter / February 2021