June 18, 2024

The Cardinals appear to have found their stride and are playing significantly better baseball. However, not everyone is convinced that they’re back, and Jim Bowden of The Athletic believes they’ll still be sellers at the deadline.

The Cardinals have now won five consecutive series, and a 5-3 victory on Wednesday at Great American Ballpark brought them back to.500.

The feelings around the ballpark and in St. Louis are positive right now, and it appears that the Cardinals are back on track.

However, that does not mean that everyone is convinced. Even among the fans, there is still distrust.

On Wednesday, Jim Bowden of The Athletic spoke on the BK & Ferrario podcast on 101 ESPN and called the Cardinals’ current hot streak into question, predicting that they will be sellers at the trade deadline.

“If we match them up against the best teams in the National League, to me, they’re not in the conversation,” Bowden stated.

 

Former MLB GM Jim Bowden discusses baseball's new pitch clock - CBS News

Former GM throws cold water on Cardinals

Bowden worked as a general manager for 16 years before becoming an insider, so he understands the characteristics of a solid team and what to look for. Clearly, he does not recognize those indicators in the Cardinals.

Bowden focused on the team’s run differential, offensive statistics, and lack of starting pitching depth.

While the rotation has improved significantly since last year with the additions of Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, and Kyle Gibson, Bowden does not feel Lynn and Gibson will be able to maintain their performance.

To be fair, the National League is very open. Only the Dodgers and Phillies have broken away from the rest of the pack. And, thanks to yesterday’s victory, the Cardinals are only 4.5 games behind first place in the NL Central and a half-game down in the Wild Card race.

As a result, the Cardinals have reason to be optimistic. But I find myself agreeing with most of what Bowden is saying. When the Cardinals face clubs like the Dodgers, Phillies, and even the Braves, it’s difficult to picture them winning a best-of-three Wild Card series. Having Gray as the ace helps, but if they lost his start in Game 1, they’d be in trouble for the rest of the series.

Despite their better offensive output, the Cardinals continue to rank at the bottom of the league in terms of runs scored, making it difficult to envision this team as a serious playoff contender.

I do not want to be negative. I’ll always pull for the Cardinals to win every game and add key players before the trade deadline, but Bowden is correct in his appraisal of the squad. This does not appear to be a playoff club to me, and it will take a lot more to convince me that it is.

As of today, I still feel the Cardinals will sell at the trade deadline. They have been moving in the wrong direction for several years. Unless they continue to beat top teams, it will be difficult to predict a significant run for this club.

Based on their recent track record, I don’t see the front office making a huge move to push them over the top. They’ve settled for incremental improvements rather than huge upgrades, and it’s difficult to picture them altering direction, especially after passing on players like Jordan Montgomery, Aaron Nola, Corbin Burnes, and Dylan Cease in favor of Gibson and Lynn.

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