On October 1st, 2017, around 3:45p, the Cardinals wrapped up their 125th season of professional baseball.
Around 3:46p that same day, most Redbird supporters started asking the same question: will this franchise do enough in the off-season to catch the Cubs?
5-14 over the course of a year will do that to a fan base.
4 months later and the answer to that question is…
Here are the gains to the MLB roster:
- Trade for OF Marcell Ozuna
- Sign RP Luke Gregerson
- Sign SP Miles Mikolas
- Trade for RP Dominic Leone
- Return of Alex Reyes (May-ish)
- Promotions for Cardinals MiLB players (2-4)
Here are the losses from the MLB roster:
- Lance Lynn
- Randal Grichuk
- Stephen Piscotty
- Trevor Rosenthal
- Seung Hwan Oh
- Zach Duke
- Juan Nicasio
- Aledmys Diaz
Even being generous and granting that 5-14 was a little fluky in 2017, I wouldn’t – personally – be bullish on the Cardinals usurping the Cubs as NL Central champs in 2018.
More to the point of this article, though, has our hubris clouded the reality of present day St. Louis professional baseball?
That game on October 1st, 2017 I mentioned above?
It was a loss.
Against the Brewers.
The 11th loss against the Brewers in 2017 against 8 wins, to be exact.
A loss that made the standings look like this to end the season:
I’ll go ahead and volunteer as tribute here…
I thought that the Brewers were a little lucky in 2017 and that they wouldn’t be a serious Challenge to the Cubs (or Cardinals) in 2018.
That 2nd place finish? The Cards weren’t really trying that hard the last week of the season.
Then they went and traded for Christian Yelich.
Then they went and signed Lorenzo Cain.
And – unlike the Cardinals – have indicated that more moves could be on the horizon (either through a trade of surplus outfielders or through free-agent signings) before spring training starts in a couple of weeks.
A little under 24% of the Cardinals total games in 2018 will be against the Cubs and Brewers.
So I ask again…