You might as well call me Captain Doom n Gloom, because here’s my main thought for 2016: What if the Cardinals miss the playoffs?
I realize we won 100 games last year, but as I (and everybody else) has mentioned, plenty of things have changed. We’ve lost some key players, two to a division rival, signed a pitcher who’s durable but is is a mid rotation starter at best. Those are the highlights.
That division rival (Chicago) beat us in the playoffs. We also have another strong division rival in Pittsburgh.
Teams outside the division have gotten better as well, such as Arizona. It’s also an even year, which means San Francisco might be another title, and they made some smart moves as well. The Dodgers, while late to the party, also made some good moves recently.
All of that is to say a Wild Card might not be guaranteed either.
So what happens if that reality comes true?
Cardinals fans are not quite the Yankees when it comes to demanding a winner, but we’ve been spoiled with the success of our team lately. While we did try to be active in free agency, it failed, as we didn’t get any big name targets (you may argue to the contrary, but Mike Leake is not a big name target.)
We have some youth that we can build around, such as Martinez, Piscotty, Grichuk, etc, but not as much as Chicago, who has even more talent in the pipeline. As for us, well our best minor league prospect failed a drug test recently.
So what happens if we miss the playoffs?
I don’t think any heads will roll, as Matheny and Mo have earned the benefit of the doubt this year, but something may have to change, as the Cubs have arrived, and other teams are more competitive as well.
What will those changes will be? Spending more money? Signing more international free agents? Focusing on developing more talent from within? I have no idea, but it’ll be interesting to find out.
As always, thanks for reading.