(KMOV) – The St. Louis Cardinals underachieved in 2010 according to many fans. On the first day Tony LaRussa arrived to camp and he told our reporter there were two reasons the Cardinals fell apart. He did not go into details about the reasons. This leads our Cardinals bloggers to speculate what the reasons were and how they can be fixed.
“I'm assuming that one of the things has to be defense, as the team lagged in that department last year. That could be a difficult thing to address this season, being that some of the offseason acquisitions weren't made with defense in mind.
Possibly the other idea was situational hitting, to be able to manufacture some runs with the lineup. I think that some new approaches at the plate could be doable and could produce some results.”
Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat
“In my eyes there were a few things that caused the Cardinals to struggle last season, so I will attempt to narrow it down to the two most important. The first reason I think is that the Cardinals were not a very fundamentally sound team. Players made avoidable mistakes anywhere from defense to base running to situational hitting. We lacked in all those categories and that comes down to basic baseball fundamentals, which has always been a hallmark of a Tony LaRussa team. Ultimately it will have to come down to each individual player taking it upon themselves to shore up their fundamentals so that we don't have the same issues as we did last year. To Tony, that might be two or three different things, but it all comes to playing sound basic baseball. Who was it that said the best players make the same routine plays over and over and over again?
The second would be a lack of depth in the organization. I think the acquisition of Nick Punto helps the infield depth greatly, I still don't think we have enough infield depth to deal with the long-term loss of an infielder like we did last year with David Freese. There is hope that Tyler Greene or maybe Daniel Descalso can turn into that depth, but it would be nice to have someone dependable that we know is already solid depth, like Punto. But even with Punto, he is really only defensive depth. Greene and Descalso have potential to be offensive depth. But I'm not really comfortable handing an everyday job to Punto or Greene in the situation that an infielder goes down long term. Catcher is also another situation where the Cardinals will have an issue if Molina goes down too, and with the innings he's playing it's become more and more likely that he does.”
Jon Doble, RedbirdDugout.com
“Cardinals have addressed the two needs during this off-season.
1. Clubhouse presence- They got rid of the problems in the clubhouse. Gone is Brendan Ryan, Marty Mason, Dennys Reyes and Felipe Lopez. 3 of the 4 were rumored to have had issues with players and/or management during the 2010 campaign.They added players with a reputation of being a good influence in and around the cage. We start with Lance Berkman, known as an all around good guy. Next, Nick Punto who players rave about his hustle and ability to help young players. Then we added Gerald Laird that has not been linked to any problems in the past.
2. Coaching staff and management dissent- Again Marty Mason was rumored to have been bad-mouthing decisions that had been made and not being shy about letting players know about it. John Abbamondi left as assistant GM and John Carroll, director of professional scouting both left the Front Office of the Cardinals. There has been rumors of problems in the past that particularly land in the lap of Dave Duncan and his thoughts and how they landed cross-ways in some of the management hairs.”
Ryan Knuppel, CardinalsGM.com
“Having to think like Tony can be a difficult mindset to get into sometimes – and that’s not necessarily a knock on him either. Speculatively, I could see Tony laying blame on “clubhouse issues” – Felipe Lopez and Brendan Ryan were both essentially chased off – that led to a lack of focus by the team. Second, I want to say injuries, but I can’t see Tony using that as an excuse. Perhaps complacency? The Cardinals let their predicted runaway from the division get through their fingers for previously mentioned lack of focus? Always difficult to get in the mind of #10.”
Nick, Pitchers Hit Eighth