The Do Nothing Cardinals

In 1948, President Truman bestowed the moniker “the Do Nothing Congress” on the legislative side of the government.  While Congress still gets that tag slapped on them from time to time, most recently the current batch of folks, today the Cardinals decided to claim that as their own.

It’s 3:15 PM and the trade deadline has passed.  Unless something happened right at the end that hasn’t been announced yet, the Cardinals did nothing at the deadline.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Tara and I begged them to pick a direction, to sell or to buy, and in the end they did what they’ve done most of the year–stood pat.

Most of the time, I’m a front office apologist.  I give them the benefit of the doubt and try to see it from their point of view.  Even now, I can imagine that there will be some talk of not wanting to give assets away or that things will happen this winter when the market is more open or something along those lines.  Which make sense, as far as they go.

But look.  You’ve got an outfield glut that gets worse when Stephen Piscotty comes back tomorrow.  You’ve got a pitching glut and Lance Lynn now is only going to bring you a compensatory draft pick that no longer is in the first round given the new CBA.  You’ve got a roster that’s clogged in spots and you are saying that there was nothing you could do to get it cleared up?

Let’s say you don’t want to sell, though.  You’ve got tickets sold, you’ve got a fanbase to placate, and you are only 4.5 games out of the division, for what that’s worth.  So fine, you keep Lynn, you keep the outfielders.  Don’t you have to bring in SOMETHING to sell the players, the fans, anyone with a mind that you can actually contend down the stretch?

Because right now, you have the same roster that you’ve had basically all year.  A roster that has been above .500 for, what, two weeks all season?  How do you sell the hope that they are going to make a run at a Cubs team that now looks much more like the playoff squad they were last year than the bumbling hangover guys they looked like up until the break.  Their August schedule isn’t that difficult and they patched their holes over the last couple of weeks.  I don’t know that they are Series favorites, but they look more like a playoff team than anyone else in the Central right now.

And this same roster that has put up a disappointing 52-53 mark up until now is the team that’s going to do it.

Don’t you at least get some sort of bullpen arm for a couple of Double-A prospects that aren’t really in the plans and say that you are trying to address the 20 bullpen losses?  You could sell the idea that the bullpen would be better to go with starting pitching that’s solid right now and an offense that’s getting by.  That didn’t happen.

Again, I get it.  It’s tough to make deals.  You don’t to just deal to deal, I don’t think, but when attendance is such a big deal, even a cosmetic move can make a difference in how folks feel about the team.  Right now, there’s going to be a lot of folks that feel like the club has waved a white flag even though they didn’t sell and that may play into their entertainment choices over the next couple of months.

We’ll see if they can do something this winter to make the 2018 squad look different, but season ticket renewals go out before the end of this season.  It would be fascinating to see if there’s a drop off in those renewals after a iffy 2016 and now a mediocre 2017.  That may make this winter very interesting as well.  Otherwise, I have to say, I’m not sanguine about this big moves that people think will come this offseason.  We thought they were coming last year and all that happened was Dexter Fowler and Brett Cecil.  Needed moves, to be sure (though ones that haven’t panned out as well as hoped) but not transformational ones.

It’s right now tough to sell faith that this team will either get better with internal options or that there’s going to be this very active winter, especially when the word “active” was used a couple of weeks ago by John Mozeliak to talk about THIS deadline.  It feels like we keep kicking the can down the road, holding on longer and longer to prospects that have no room or not making that difficult decision.

I’m perfectly willing to be surprised.  Maybe Dakota Hudson is the callup and he fixes the bullpen.  Maybe Harrison Bader figures out offspeed pitches or Piscotty comes back and hits like he did last year.  Maybe it all comes together for this surprise run or maybe Mo and Mike Girsch make a huge deal with Miami this offseason.  Maybe not making a deal right now was the right move.

It doesn’t feel like it, though.  It feels like the same old inability to decide which way they want to go.  And that feeling sucks, to be honest.

Hopefully this post doesn’t age well.  I’m fine with that.  But if you don’t rant without full information or in the heat of the moment, what good is a blog?

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