The specter of Albert Pujols leaving. Adam Wainwright’s season-ending elbow injury. A contending Cincinnati Reds team, and on the rise Chicago Cubs. Anyway you look at the recent news coming out of St. Louis, the Cardinals season seems to be going downhill. The problem is, we still have 34 days until Opening Day.
Although Pujols put a quash on any trade or free agency talk until the end of the season, Adam Wainwright’s injury is, at best, impossible to overcome. The All-Star pitcher was the ace of the Card’s rotation. As most baseball experts will agree, you can’t replace your number one guy. It’s that simple.
The Red’s became a juggernaut last season and we can expect them to pick up where they left off. I’m giving the NL Central to Cincinnati. With experienced leaders such as Renteria and Rolen, the Reds can easily run away with the division. I think Joey Votto’s performance last season may not be repeated exactly this year, but he’ll definitely have good, if not great numbers. The Cubs are looking to make some noise with Carlos Zambrano leading the charge. However, I would not place my bet with the Cubbies.
I’m not saying that Pujols won’t put on a show. I simply do not expect 90 wins out of St. Louis. Tony Larussa will need to lead this team differently than last year to keep pace with the Reds. The loss of Wainwright is a punch in the gut. With the possibility, and potential inevitability of Pujols leaving at the end of the season, fans in St. Louis may want to start singing the blues.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!