The Cardinals aren’t good right now. With the exception of an early hot streak, this season has been a resounding failure.
With the disappointing first half comes the second-guessing and fan outrage. The most popular form of outrage seems to be directed at the front office. While it's reasonable to be upset with how things have turned out, one must stay grounded in reality.
Let’s look first at the Luke Voit trade and its fallout.
Before last year’s trade deadline, the Cardinals traded Voit, a 27-year-old first baseman, to the Yankees for two relievers, Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos.
At the time, Voit has been decent but unspectacular in the big leagues. Able to play only first base, he was blocked by Matt Carpenter and Jose Martinez.
Since leaving, Voit has been a stud for the Yankees. In nearly a full season’s worth of plate appearances, he’s hitting .296 with a .396 on-base percentage and 31 home runs.
While Shreve has been a disappointment, Gallegos has been a revelation. His importance is magnified now with the loss of Jordan Hicks.
Even with Gallegos emerging, this doesn’t look like a good trade for the Cardinals. Voit has been an all-star caliber player since the deal was struck.
Still, it’s important to think back to the moment the trade was made. Those outraged by its outcome would have been equally outraged had the Cardinals front office kept Voit and announced him as the first baseman of the future.
The Cardinals would have been accused of being cheap, and fans would’ve raged about how the organization overvalues its prospects.
The Voit trade opened the door the Paul Goldschmidt trade.With a hole to fill at first base and a spot open for the title of “Face of the Franchise,” the Cardinals landed one of the offseason’s biggest fish.
There were very few, if any, naysayers when the Cardinals sent Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly and prospects to Arizona for Goldschmidt. There were some, but very few, naysayers when the Cards signed Goldschmidt to a five-year, $130 million extension. It was the move for which most fans had been clamoring.
Of course, that all changes three months into the season when Goldschmidt isn’t living up to expectations. Never mind the fact that could change with a few hot weeks and that Goldschmidt has been known to go on such tears.
Goldschmidt’s struggles highlight the frustration over the Voit trade, but that line of thinking is short-sighted and slightly amnesiac.
Remember when the Cardinals traded Matt Adams to Atlanta in 2017?
He began immediately mashing for the Braves, hitting 19 homers in 314 plate appearances. He even started off hot with the Nationals in 2018 before fading. He even returned to St. Louis for an uneventful stretch run. Now, he’s back to being a part-time power bat for the Nationals.
When Adams was mashing in Atlanta, Cardinals fans were furious, but like most things, it passed.
If Voit continues his success, the trade will require further examination. For now, there is no honest Cardinals fan that can say they would’ve preferred having Voit over Goldschmidt a year ago. I’d be surprised if many would take Voit over Goldschmidt a year from now.