MLB 2018: St. Louis Cardinals Opening Odds
Playoffs Not In Cards For 2017 St. Louis Team
The 2017 season wasn't the best for the St. Louis Cardinals. They began the season with a bang, beating the World Champion Chicago Cubs. But while the Cubs faltered in the first half, the Brewers took the helm and led the division for most of the season, by the slimmest of margins.
Later in August, after a solid win streak, the Cards and Cubs were tied for first in the division, with the Brewers still lurking. With the Cubs great second half though, it wasn't looking good for St. Louis and it seemed more likely that they'd get a Wild Card spot as their way into the postseason. This was all but cemented after a three game win streak by the Cubs over the Cardinals in mid-September to push the Cards back six games.
In late September, St. Louis was finally eliminated from the NL Central race by the Cubs, who they ended up being 5-14 against all season. A few days later, their division rivals put the final nail in the coffin by eliminating the Cards from the NL Wild Card race, in a tight contest with the Rockies and Brewers.
The Cardinals in 2018
After their worst divisional showing since 2008, the Cardinals have already begun to make changes to make their 2018 campaign most respectable. Mike Maddux was hired as pitching coach, after the team's 4.01 ERA was among the worst since Matheny managed the club. They hope to get their ERA back down to a respectable number and return to being true contenders.
St. Louis will also have to deal with a number of free agents possibly departing. Starter Lance Lynn rejected an offer and will be signing with another team. He finished with an 11-8 season with a 3.43 ERA. Former closer Trevor Rosenthal will also be looking for another team as he was released. Closer Seung Hwan Oh, aka 'The Final Boss' elected for free agency as well. Without these pitchers, the Cardinals are in for a rough season unless they can acquire some new talent. Even Adam Wainwright is a toss up, as he's going in for surgery. While it's expected to go well, we just never know what the results will be.
Focus should be on pitching now, but the Cards are going after top sluggers, like Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Eric Hosmer. With a move like that, look for players like Jedd Gyorko and Paul DeJong to make less appearances. While hitting is important, it's looking like a dubious move to not replace many of their pitchers.
Will They Win Their MLB Division?
While the Cardinals have won the NL Central more times than any other team, with 10 titles, chances are they won't be seeing the top of the table for a long time coming. The Cubs are currently dominating, and even with a lackluster first half, they still managed to come out on top in the end. And the Cubbies aren't the only roadblock. The Brewers are in contention as well.
Odds to Win the MLB World Series
The Cards opened at +2200 to take the World Series. This ties them with the Mets for eighth favored team to win, just ahead of the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays, but far behind the Yanks, Cubs, and Red Sox.
With all due respect to the Cardinals, stay away. Stay far, far away. Even if this team can garner some more offense, it would put decent players on the sidelines and not address their pitching issues. After finishing the season with a below average ERA for this team, they need to focus on that more than just getting a new pitching coach. Their starting rotation is pretty weak as it stands today, especially with the unknown of how Wainwright will perform after surgery.
Even at +2200, there's still no value taking this team, as they most likely won't even make the playoffs, and if they do, they don't have the tools to go deep. If they can acquire another decent starter and a closer along with a slugger, then they might be worth a shot at this price.
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