I have spent more than a half century of my life as a St. Louis Cardinals fan and plan to spend the rest of my years as one also. Most of my friends are also St. Louis Cardinals diehards, but most will likely disagree with what I believe are 5 necessary steps to fix the Cardinals after a disastrous season.

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Every sports team has an off year sooner or later. Fortunately, for the St. Louis Cardinals, it's been a rare occurrence. A couple that come to mind are 1997 and 2007. Prior to this season, 2007 was the last year the St. Louis Cardinals had a losing season. That's a long run of winning.  The good news is that it didn't take them long to return to greatness. My concern is Major League Baseball is now a different game and I believe the path back to a winning tradition will likely be a painful one.

Here are 5 steps I believe the Cardinals need to take to get them back to where us fans want them to be. Brace yourself for unpopular opinions.

1. The St. Louis Cardinals are going to have to trade one of their young stars to get the excellent starting pitching they need

MLB via YouTube
MLB via YouTube
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Let me be clear that I DON'T want them to trade Lars Nootbaar, Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn or Nolan Gorman. But, I think the team is gonna have to consider parting with at least one of them to get a breakthrough proven starter. Other teams need and value pitching, too. If you don't offer a true generational talent, you're not gonna get one in return. It simply just doesn't happen (unless you're the Colorado Rockies). Thanks again for Arenado, Colorado.

2. Consider working with Arenado or Goldschmidt on a trade that will bring back even more pitching

Who in their right mind would trade a reigning National League MVP? The Cardinals should at least think about talking to Goldschmidt or Arenado about considering waiving their no-trade clauses to move to a current winning organization like the Braves or Dodgers in return for pitching. You're going to hear me talk about that pitching word constantly. Neither player has given any indication they want to leave St. Louis, but I think a conversation away from the press might reveal a willingness.

3. Fire Oli Marmol

I really don't believe that the Cardinals performance this season is manager Oli Marmol's fault and I am convinced he is a nice person who is baseball-smart. I also thought his handling of Albert Pujol's last season was brilliant. Now, the St. Louis Cardinals need to dismiss him and go get a firm leader who isn't afraid to ruffle the feathers of the clubhouse when they need it. Too much complacency on the field this year and mishandling of Willson Contreras and Tyler O'Neill's situations are signs that a change needs to be made.

2. Replace entire front office

John Mozeliak and Michael Girsch did a good job for years bringing in players that kept the St. Louis Cardinals competitors. However, I don't know if it was complacency or just misjudgments, but they have made multiple missteps that have led the Cardinals to where they are now. Sandy Alcántara and Randy Arozarena should probably both be Cardinals. Both John and Michael interviewed Willson Contreras and decided he was the catcher to replace Yadi Molina then one month into the season publicly shamed him. Shame on them. Judging talent is a vital part of what a front office does. Randy Flores has done an outstanding job of scouting. Perhaps he should get a promotion?

1. Get a brand new analytics department

Whoever put together the metrics that formed the St. Louis Cardinals strategy in 2023 should be looking for new places of employment. Exit velocity and spin rates are good information. My opinion is you need to bake in even more common sense old-school baseball know-how, too. Please?

I have always been a St. Louis Cardinals fan and always will be. I'll be anxiously awaiting opening day of the 2024 season (and also watching every game of what's left of this terrible year, too). But, I am convinced that it needs to be a winter of painful decisions before the St. Louis Cardinals are the team we all want them to be again. Soon.

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