In St. Louis, we have become accustomed to watching the Cardinals win and in just about every year of the past decade have a chance to win the division. As a fan, at times, you can forget just how hard it is for an organization to remain competitive and have that chance every year. There are many reasons why certain organizations can’t compete every year. From the farm system not producing players, bad choices in free agency, players get older and retire and their spots aren’t filled properly. The list goes on and on. The Cardinals have found ways to win and that’s why you have to admire what they have done before the trade deadline. As my friend Gary Link, Missouri broadcaster, likes to say…”It’s just hard to win.” So, when you put yourself in a position to win, you go for it.
General manager John Mozeliak put himself on the line with the trade of Colby Rasmus. It was a hard deal in many ways. Rasmus is young, relatively inexpensive in baseball terms, and was under the Cardinals control for at least 3 more years. The trade is about winning now and you have to appreciate how aggressive Mo is being. The Cardinals are in a spot with the nucleus of the lineup as good as any team in baseball with Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman to win the division and beyond. For most teams, they just don’t have the opportunity the Cardinals are in right now in 2011. It’s about winning now. It’s about winning while Albert Pujols is still here.
The trades the Cardinals have made have addressed many areas of weaknesses of the ballclub. The team has 22 games remaining with the Pittsburgh and Milwaukee combined for the remainder of the season. The deals had to be made to put this team in a realistic spot to compete and win. With what they’ve done, I like their chances.
Dan McLaughlin can be heard week night on The Sports Hub from 9pm-12am on “America’s Sports Voice”