The St. Louis Cardinals gave themselves a brief respite Wednesday night in Kansas City, stopping a recent skid that left the team searching for answers and wondering where they go from here. General manager John Mozeliak is reaching a cross roads with this team and has to make some decisions. The roster he put together is under-achieving or perhaps they were simply overrated from the beginning.
The further this season progresses, the more the overrated narrative takes hold. The Cardinals are not hitting, the bullpen is spotty at best, and their defense is nothing special. As much heat as St. Louis manager Mike Matheny has taken from fans this season for his curious managing of this squad, the fact remains the roster he inherited is not good enough at the moment. That lies at the feet of Mozeliak.
However, if the Cardinals are to turn around this season once brimming with optimism, then Mozeliak is the best shot to correct things for Cardinals fans. Given the choice of who is going to do their job better at the moment, the Cardinals roster or the man who put it together, the smart money would be on Mozeliak. The Cardinals GM has a history of bold moves, correcting what ails his team and usually improving the Cardinals when he makes a deal.
At the current moment, Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Matt Adams and a still fragile Jaime Garcia do not inspire the same confidence that they can return to the form that they showed in 2013 or previous seasons. The players in that group, sans Garcia, will likely make up the core of a trade if this roster does not correct things in a hurry. The Cardinals have been lauded for a few years now for the young talent they have accumulated, but at some point Mozeliak has to make a decision. Does he continue hold on to all these prospects or does he move them on for more proven talent?
Unfortunately for the organization, the Cardinals GM faces a double-edge sword. The longer Mozeliak waits, the less he could get for some of these players if they do not start producing. However, the more they are exposed, unless they have a sudden turn in their current play, the less the Cards get in return.
Adam Wainwright does it again – Though Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright did not get the victory Wednesday night against the Royals, he did hold Kansas City scoreless through eight innings before the Rosenthal imploded in the ninth inning. After three straight losses in which the Cardinals starter was shelled, Wainright dominated and kept his team in a game they eventually won in extra innings. The loss stopped the Cardinals three-game losing skid and briefly put out the fire of 2-7 home stand that saw the Cardinals drop three games in the standings to the Milwaukee Brewers, just as it seened St. Louis was poised to take over the division.
Mozeliak is the man under the microscope now in St. Louis. The real question now in St. Louis is not whether the Cardinals make a move, but who will survive the inevitable shakeup. Mozeliak has built an organization full of assets that is not functioning at the moment. The Cardinals ended their losing skid Wednesday but this team is still lost. Rest assured the Cardinals general manager will do what he can to fix it.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the St. Louis Cardinals