You Can’t have it Both Ways!

When faced with decisions where we must choose 1 option over the other, it’s tough. Sometimes as youngsters we try to finagle a way to do both options. I’d often hear in response,”You Can’t have it Both Ways”. It really is true in life. We may try but we really can’t have it both ways.

…Currently the Cardinals are a classic example. The Cardinals are having success (to a point) by having 2 star players with the other positions filled primarily with home-grown, young talent. This talent has yet to reach the level of free agency (6 year obligation) so their contracts are controlled by the Cards. This pattern has been used in recent years by StL in 1 form or the other. It DOES provide a winning team—especially since we’re in the weakest division of the NL!  But….it does not provide a World Series team. You really can’t have it both ways…2 stars surrounded by home-grown, young talent surrounding them (for the most part).

….The idea that “young” players are going to carry you deep in the playoffs doesn’t work. The average age for the playoff teams in 2019 were—World Series Champ-Washington Nationals—30.2 years old; Braves avg 29.8 years old; Asstroes 29.7; NYY 29.6; Dodgers 29.0, Cubs & Cardinals–28.8, Brewers 28.6, Mets 28.4, Giants 28.1. That’s the average…not the oldest player!  With that average, there are many players over 30 years old. Not “young” players. I would make the supposition that this average is true for most years.

….According to the experts, the Cardinals must be credited with assembling an awesome array of talent. They have 7 of the top 100 prospects in their system according to those experts. Certainly, NO ONE expects all of them to “come up”as stars and renew StL team.

….What could the Cards do?  I’m not suggesting to go out & sign some of the multi-hundred million dollar players as free agents. One highly priced free agent, even with a good season, isn’t going to change the outcome enough to make it a World Series team.

…I’m suggesting that the Cardinals use some of their young, unproven, talented minor league players in trades. Go out a procure experienced MLB players who can produce for 1-4 years. That’s really the only outlook a team can use to win.  Radical?  Not really, the Cardinals themselves have built their World Series Championship Teams by trades that procured proven, high-production players.  They’ve been doing it for over 50 years!!!  Take a look at the players that the Cardinals procured in trades that helped them win at least 1 World Series.

….1964 team(1st WS Championship since the 40’s)—Bill White-1b (from Giants);Dick Groat(Pitt); Julian Javier(from Pitt); Lou Brock (Cubs); Curt Flood (Cincy). ¾ of the infield  & 5 of the 8 field players were obtained in trades! On the hill, Curt Simmons came from Philly; Roger Craig(NY Mets); Ernie Broglio (SF Giants); Lew Burdette(Braves)

…..1967 team still had Brock, Javier, Flood but 1b Orlando Cepada(from SF). Cepada became the unanimous NL Player of the year with League leading 111 RBI’s!!; OF Roger Maris (NYY) & LHP Al Jackson (NY Mets) –was 9-4 after he joined the Birds. When Maris was obtained, Mike Shannon, who had been the starting RF moved to become the 3B to make room for Maris in RF! BTW…How many players would to that today?

The next World Series Championship team was 1982.There were 4 major field-player additions—SS Ozzie Smith (from San Diego); Willie McGee (NYY); Lonnie Smith (Phil); George Hendrick (SD). One of the best closers in Cards history Bruce Sutter came from the Cubs-led team with 36 saves; Joaquin Andujar tied for team lead with 15 wins came from Houston; Steve Mura (12 wins-from San Diego—it almost looks like San Diego was our farm team 😊.  Jim Kaat (NYY) & Dave Lapoint(Mil) were “role” pitchers—whenever they were needed. Sometimes vital…sometimes not so much..but someone had to “eat up” the innings.

…the 2006 WS Championship team picked up 2 absolutely terrific players in trades—CF-Jim Edmond (Anaheim) &3b Scott Rolen (Phil). David Eckstein-became every-day SS (from Anaheim).2b Aaron Miles (Col) & Juan Encarcion (Flor)  provided veteran experience. Encarcion’s career in 2007 when he was hit by a foul ball in the eye while in the On-deck circle. That was very unfortunate. On the mound the Cards procured star close Jason Isringhausen (Oak). Jeff Suppan (BoSox) was 12-7 for the year. Mark Mulder & Jeff Weaver were strong #4 & $5 starters

….the 2011 WS Champions (our last title) obtained slugger Matt Holliday (Oak); Lance Berkmann (NYY); the ace of the staff-Chris Carpenter (Toronto); pitcher Kyle Loshe (Philly) led team with 14 wins; Jake Westbrook-(Clev) provided 12 wins. RP Fernando Salas, who led the team in saves, was procured from the Mexican League!!

….It can still be done. Mo needs to just look @ the past. Replicate the same approach. Use some of those young “prospects” as capitol to obtain “Proven” MLB players. Teams low in standings STILL have some good players. Not superstars…but good, proven MLB players. Don’t worry about if he’s going to be there in 5-7 years, use those players to focus on the next 3 years. Keep in mind, the average length of an MLB career is 2.7 years!! MO…you CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH YEARS.

…Mizzou continues to “blow their own horn” about the progress of their football program under its new HC, Eli Drinkwitz. He surely “talks a good game” about his team. Somehow, it’s always inferred that “he is in the SEC” soooo, what do you expect. But…looking at the records, he’s led 5-5 & 6-7 teams in his 2 years. Barry Odum was fired after a 6-6 season following an 8-5 season – both years in the SEC. It was said that he faced an “underwhelming” schedule.  Well, in 2021, the MU victories were over SEMO, Cen Michigan, N. Texas, Vanderbilt with the 1 good win vs Florida. Not exactly top tier names (save Florida) Mizzou YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.  He’s got to put forth a winning season..SEC or not!!

…An individual who seems to me is trying to have it both ways is Nolan Arenado.  Each person, player or not, has the right to make their own determination regarding  the covid vaccination(s). In some cases, there are consequences for lack of the “vax”.   Arenado did not join the Cards for the trip to Canada. In case you don’t know, one MUST be vaccinated to enter Canada. In his statement, he said that he understood and he was “OK” with missing the games. The league mandated that players would lose their pay for the number of games missed in Canada. All was good with that.  However, when asked what he’d do if Toronto was the World Series opponent, his reply was, “I’d have to reconsider”.  To me, that was a weak YES—I’m going but I don’t want to commit until it happens.  Again, you CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS…either you have the beliefs that the vaccination isn’t necessary so I won’t attend or you go along with the shots if you haven’t already received them.  However, you still CAN’T HAVE BOTH  WAYS! 

…Thanks for the read!   If you’d like to make a comment, pro or con, just go to Bob Ryan FB page & put it there.  If you prefer, send to me & I’ll publish it for you.  Want to see earlier blogs…your landing site is right on this site!    Bob