Departing Cardinals free agents are on the mind of every Red Birds’ fans’ mind this winter. St. Louis faces some long-time fixtures and for fans in the land of the Arch, it’s unnerving.
Departing Cardinals Free Agents: Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright
St. Louis fans, with Christmas approaching, are anxiously waiting to see what is going to happen with two of their favorites, Yadi Molina and Adam Wainwright. The two may be among the departing Cardinals free agents this winter, and fans can’t help but be concerned about the future direction of the club. While the two have been cornerstones of the proud franchise, St. Louis fans have to be wondering if maybe the time is right for them to move on to their next destination.
St. Louis Fans: A Standard Of Excellence
The Cardinals’ franchise has a long history of competing at the highest levels. Over the last 20 seasons, they have only had one losing season. In that time, they have won nine Central Division titles and made 13 playoff appearances. They have advanced to the World Series four times, winning two championships. St. Louis fans have been treated to a standard of excellence that they have become accustomed to over a long period of time. The last 20 years have only enhanced their standing as one of the outstanding franchises in professional sports.
Molina and Wainwright have been major contributors to the Cardinals over that time. Molina has won nine Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger award, and made nine All-Star appearances. In addition to his stellar defense, he has a lifetime batting average of .281 with 160 home runs and 932 RBIs. He is almost certainly a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Wainwright, meanwhile, has a 167-98 record, with a career ERA of 3.38. He has finished in the top four in Cy Young voting four times and has made three All-Star appearances. While his career may not reach the same level as Molina’s, there is no doubt that Wainwright has been the mainstay in the Cardinals’ rotation for the last 16 years.
St. Louis Fans: Future Considerations
While the Cardinals have experienced an extended run of success and excellence during the Molina/Wainwright era, one can’t help but wonder about the future. The Cardinals are a proud franchise and have been for a very long time. Molina and Wainwright have become fixtures in St. Louis, as well as being solid team leaders. After all these years, it is difficult for Cardinal fans to imagine the team without them. Molina and Wainwright have raised the bar for St. Louis fans, and losing them would complicate the Cardinals’ chances to compete in 2021.
On the other hand, Molina and Wainwright would not be inexpensive to re-sign. The Cardinals reportedly recently made Molina an offer that he termed “ridiculous.” Molina is reported to be looking for at least a one-year deal worth $10,000,000. So, his returning to the Cardinals does not seem likely, at this point. Wainwright seems to be employing a different negotiating strategy. Reports are that he has not had any meaningful discussions yet, and does not appear to be in a hurry.
One thing does seem clear, though, and that is the idea that the Cardinals do have an interest in retaining the services of both Molina and Wainwright. Of course, money is always a consideration. Both sides will want a deal that is beneficial financially, and that can be hard to achieve. Especially when dealing with veterans with very limited futures. At any rate, St. Louis fans are caught in the middle.
St. Louis Fans: Waiting And Hoping?
So, what does it all mean for faithful Cardinals fans? One can search high and low, and not find more loyal fans. They have supported this franchise for so many years, and have been treated to many years of entertaining, competitive baseball. They have also experienced the loss of two of their most beloved stars this year in Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. Now they are looking at possibly losing two players who have helped lead them through another golden age in Cardinals’ history.
St. Louis fans are left to sit helplessly by as the wheels turn silently behind the scenes. Will their beloved Cardinals retain either or both of their star veterans? If not, who will replace them? Will management spend the money necessary to keep the team competitive? Can the Cardinals compete in the N.L. Central without them? These are all questions that are fair to ask. The answers to these questions will help determine the future of one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. Cardinals’ fans can only hope that management rises to the challenge.
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