After winning their division by 7.5 games, expectation are high for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010. They dolled out 120 million dollars to Matt Holliday to keep their lineup intact, added hitting coach Mark McGwire, and now must live up to the hype of being the favorite to represent the National League in the World Series. This is a very solid roster, and one must look beneath the surface to find any weakness.
Let’s face it they have the best player in baseball in Albert Pujols, the best catcher in the NL in Yadier Molina, and arguably the best 1-2 starters in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. They are led by a future Hall of Fame manger in Tony Larussa, who is one of two managers in history to win a title in both leagues, and they have Holliday and all star closer Ryan Franklin. On paper the are second only to the Philadelphia Phillies.
With all that being said they do have a few problems. For starters who will play third? This is the only spot on the Cardinals roster where they do not return the regular from 2009. The only candidates seem to be rookie David Freese or youngsters Tyler Greene and Joe Mather. Even though Larussa does not like to start youngsters, it seems he has no choice here.
All though the addition of McGwire to the coaching staff could help the Cardinals batters, we have to ask if he will be a huge distraction. So far his answers on the steroids questions have not been adequate. I think McGwire has all the potential and knowledge to be a great hitting instructor, but at some point the media will come asking steroids questions, and he is going to have to give them a satisfactory answer. It seems, he would be best served to give a real admission, and a sincere apology, and then focus on the job at hand.