With most of the offseason shopping done, the next story should be the St. Louis Cardinals pursuit of Dallas Keuchel.
The St. Louis Cardinals are going into 2019 season with a “WIN NOW” attitude, and as a fan I’m excited. My face warms and the small corners of my mouth perk into a gleaming smile at the idea of hoisting their 12th title in franchise history, but the picture fades and the sounds of a flute from the TV show ‘Wagon Train’ airing on my television pull me back into reality. Management have addressed 2 glaring holes in our tattered yet prestigious cloth yet when its unrolled, a tiny bit a light peers through to show yet another small hole that seems to have been overlooked.
One thing that’s glaring, and to me understated is the Cardinals need for an established LH starter. Austin Gomber has shown glimpses of being a fourth or fifth starter in the future, but this argument isn’t for the future, it’s for a “WIN NOW” mentality promised this 2019 season. My argument is not just for a LH pitcher, but as stated before, an established one. The NL Central will be “on paper” the toughest division to win in the National League.
It may even be more balanced than The AL East, and we can look at the talent in the division to make this argument. The Reds have players like Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee has Travis Shaw, Eric Thames and oh yeah did I mention the reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich? Chicago rolls out Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Ian Happ. Then you have the potential of adding Bryce Harper to that lineup. Harper being in your division alone should be pepper flakes on your butt hole to make you jump and get a LH starter.
My argument for a LH starter shouldn’t over power the need for an “Ace” in general, as this team does not have one. Jack Flaherty is young and most players in their full second year show regression. Flaherty has also shown that he is unable to control his pitch count and usually makes an early exit. Drastic improvement would need to take place to make a difference, because a season full of early exits and only glimpses of control will not only affect you in the W-L column, but also affect your bullpen as well.
Michael Wacha is who he is, a talented pitcher that hasn’t really lived up to who he could have been. I thought 2018 was the breakout year for Wacha, heck I think maybe we all did but it wasn’t the case. Injury bugs bite and the Cardinals and Michael Wacha weren’t immune last season. Its hard to rely on him for a season, and he’s probably a bigger question mark than Miles Mikolas. “The Lizard King” is a question mark though, and it would be foolish to think otherwise. Was last year a fluke for a career mediocre pitcher, or did he truly reinvent himself in Japan?
Adam Wainwright is old, not as talented as he once was and the idea of him starting 20 games seems farfetched, starting 7 games seems farfetched to me honestly. I want nothing more then to be proved wrong and I hope he does. Gomber, Ponce, Gant, and Reyes are all pieces to not forget, but those names maybe contribute here and there but they do not help you ride to a 12th WS title. Carlos Martinez has had a chance to prove himself and yet to do so, and I’m sure he will get another chance to do so but I actually think he is more serviceable as another bullpen arm over trying yet again to be a starter. He isn’t a great one. We have talent, we have a bright future but do we have a bright 2019?
The name to chase
The front office can choose to ignore this pin pointed beam of sunshine peeping through, or thread the needle and seam the cloth for a true all in 2019. One player on the market that I think fits that little hole is Dallas Keuchel. Dallas is a LH established starting pitcher that can be slotted easily 1-2 in our rotation and make it that much deeper.
I’m afraid if we plan on contending in the Central this year, we need to be Mississippi River deep folks. The Cardinals have had an A- offseason thus far so it’s hard to sit behind the rage of a keyboard and demand that they go out and sign, spend and trade in circles, but when you sit back and you can see the hole, you must ask yourself if it’s noticeable to you or not.
Thanks for reading! If you’d like to continue the conversation, you can find me on Twitter at @Cardinals_Live. I’d love to hear your opinions on the Cards and on this article!