St. Louis holds all the cards in their battle against the North Siders


Why doesn’t the Cardinals seem to sell their core players and tear down and rebuild their roster?

Maybe because it’s not?

“It’s never happened since I’ve been here,” said Cardinals president John Mozeliak, who joined the team in the scouting division after the 1995 season.

Maybe because you can’t.

“Our fans are not. want To win,” Mozeliak said. “They want to win.”

Whether or not St. Louis fans actually demand more than fans in these parts, Cardinals management has, for decades, been the boss of the so-called culture they claim: the Cubs. We have paid at least more than lip service for the kind of culture that Theo Epstein and Jed Heuer swore to create. when they took over Chicago 11 years ago.

As you know, “Foundation for Sustained Success”, Continuity, “Player Development – Machine”, etc.

Despite all the promise and goodwill that seemed to come from the Cubs’ winning core in 2016, long before Epstein and Hoyer arrived, the difference in how rival franchises operated was, if not performance. It didn’t seem all that important.

If anything, the difference is when Wilson Contreras, the Cubs’ final Championship Core All-Star, signed an $87.5 million deal to replace Yadier Molina, the Cardinals’ Championship Core All-Star who remained in St. Louis. emphasized. Louis lineup until his retirement last year.

“I came here because I know the history of the team,” said Contreras, who has started three of the last four All-Star Games.

With Contreras’ departure, only Kyle Hendricks remains from the 2016 championship. And he may not be ready to pitch until May as he looks to return from his shoulder injury in the final guaranteed year of his contract.

In fact, only four players were on the roster all year for the Cubs’ final playoff appearance (the shortened 2020 season). Adults were last seen given the option.

The Cubs will be sent a new face worth over $300 million this year to update one of the game’s oldest rivalries. Ultimately spending money on products again is certainly worthy of local admiration, but it is also, if not prosecution, the pay cuts of the past few years that created such a dire talent shortage in the first place. It is also a reminder.

Meanwhile, reminders of Contreras’ recounted Cardinals history linger around the site year after year, providing leadership and cultural continuity during a career that included 13 playoff appearances and two rings. No doubt Molina was past its prime and overpaid to do so. The Cards paid 41-year-old starter Adam Wainwright this winter $17.5 million to keep his curveballs and cunning for another year.

“I’m just here, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I do know that we take our legacy very seriously that our legacy is passed on to the next group,” said Wainwright. When asked, he didn’t particularly want to make comparisons with the Cubs.

“The winning tradition that we have built here is working. Plain and simple. I used to do pretty much the same thing before I came here, leaving.

Culture is one of the most overused and mostly meaningless words in a sports lexicon full of such things.

The Cardinals have seen near-constant success since winning a National League record 11 World Series championships in 1926.

The Cubs loved to talk about it and believed they did it, at least briefly, in the 2015-17 NL Championship Series.

Whatever good “culture” means, a more tangible quality that speaks to what Mozeliak, Wainwright, and even Contreras are talking about might be continuity.

“The Cardinals have a rich history, so I always think of it as understanding our past, or being very appreciative of our past,” Mozeliak said. accept it.

“If you look at Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, they [had impact] After 20 years in the organization, they are still great players. But that’s why we go out and trade with people like Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.

After missing the playoffs by finishing second and third from 2016 to 2018, the Cardinals traded three young players to Arizona, acquired All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and won the Cubs and Brewers berths in 2019. I overtook and won the NL Central title.

A year later, they signed Goldschmidt to a five-year, $130 million extension. A year later, sending young players to Colorado, Arenado became the league’s leading third baseman in his career.

Goldschmidt and Arenado finished 1-3 in the MVP voting in last year’s NL.

The Cardinals haven’t missed the playoffs since the Goldschmidt trade and are a strong contender to win the division again in 2023.

“The fact is, that’s kind of our model,” Mozeliak said. “But without a good draft and development, this is impossible – because we don’t have the trade chips and we don’t have the players to augment what we have here.”

It goes back to Mark’s trade

Maguire in 1997, Jim Edmonds in 2000 and Matt Holliday in 2009. After the deal, all stuck to their contract extensions.

“So all these successes are trying to keep the generation of players that our fans identify with over and over again.

What are the Cubs missing? – Of course, there are Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Yu Darvish, etc. Three All-Star selections and his five playoff appearances since the Cubs assembled the team during the 2020 division title roster purge.

culture? perhaps. continue? clearly.

Sustained success?

“I’ve been taught a lot when it comes to winning,” Wainwright said. “We had veterans who spoke to our lives and taught us left and right. Please talk to me when

For Wainwright, it started as a rookie reliever on the 2006 championship team. But the Cardinals seem to have done this generation-to-generation continuity since the Gashouse Gang in the 1930s.

Wainwright, Goldschmidt, and Mozeliak all say, perhaps unsurprisingly, that continuity has a direct correlation to victory.

The Cubs have late-October experience in the clubhouse as they know first-hand that John Lester, John Lackey, David Ross and more will set the tone for a young core during a historic championship run. Having players is obviously important.

But to specifically retain the core players who have done it in the same uniform as the organization integrates the next generation?

“There’s something about it,” said Wainwright, who paired with Molina and made the most starts in history.

Consider the Cardinals have lost a season since the 1990s.

Since their 2007 loss, the lucrative Cubs have not only had nearly as many losing seasons (7) as they have won (8), they have actually struggled. Twice.

Cubs president Jed Hoyer, who was promoted from general manager to replace Epstein after the 2020 season, has pondered the Cardinals’ impressive continuum of success since coming to Chicago.

“I thought one of the best things in Boston was the Yankees,” said Hoyer, a former assistant general manager of the Red Sox under Epstein. .

“I felt that way when we got here,” Hoyer said.[The Cardinals] Won the World Series in 2011 and lost the World Series in 2013. When we were building we knew we weren’t going to go back to the playoffs to be a really good team and win this division and compete at the highest level. I had to. I feel that way now. “

Maybe he’ll catch them again this year after he rises again.

But they’re looking farther away from building that kind of team (certainly that sustainability model) than when he and Epstein started over a decade ago.

When Mozeliak acquired Contreras on a five-year offer, the comparisons didn’t look any better. Contreras called it an “honor” to follow Molina.

“It’s a big responsibility,” he said.

It’s a force of history that Contreras has long admired over the years.

It’s a history as strong as making the Cardinals management team modern, tech-savvy, overlooking the age-regressive value model, and considering the bigger picture of key players.

“All I can say is, here in St. Louis, they took such good care of us. ‘This is like home.'”


What do you think?

Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

Leave a Reply

Lions Township high school student sinks half-court shot to win $10,000

DNC may vote to change major order as New Hampshire fights to retain first-in-country status