Gawlowski: The Cardinals may have missed an opportunity

From Brendan Gawlowski at FanGraphs on January 30, 2020:

It’s probably unfair to say that the St. Louis Cardinals snuck into the postseason last year. After all, they were expected to contend at the outset of the season and subsequently led the division race over each of their final 35 games. With 91 wins, they were a worthy playoff team, and their triumph in the NLDS only reinforced that perception.

But if the Cardinals were more than a smoke and mirrors act, they weren’t always the most convincing contender either. It took them 90 games to finally clear the .500 bar for good and despite playing in the National League’s least talented division, they never separated themselves from their competition. Had Milwaukee swept the 90-loss Rockies in the season’s final weekend, they’d have pipped St. Louis for the Central.

It’s also not clear how well-positioned this team is to compete going forward. There are big holes in the outfield, aging veterans in key positions, and plenty of question marks on both sides of the ball. Frustratingly for Cardinals fans, management made few moves to address those problems this winter. With spring training just a few weeks away, it appears that the Cardinals missed a golden opportunity to solidify their position at the top of a winnable division.

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Originally published: January 30, 2020. Last Updated: January 30, 2020.