Blog Entry

Homegrown Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:57 am
Albert Pujols

By C. Trent Rosecrans

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

While most of the teams on our list would love a do-over for 2011 -- or at least part of it, the season somehow worked out pretty well for the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that took advantage of an epic collapse and capitalized upon its chance by winning the World Series. The moves made by both the current management team and former executives, all worked out for one glorious season in St. Louis, so it's another example of why the exercise is for fun only. But there's one thing our Homegrown Cardinals have that the 2012 version doesn't -- Albert Pujols


1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Allen Craig, LF
5. Colby Rasmus, CF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Brendan Ryan, SS
8. Skip Schumaker, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Dan Haren
2. Jaime Garcia
3. Kyle McClellan
4. Chris Narveson
5. Lance Lynn


Closer - Chris Perez
Set up - Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, Luke Gregerson, Blake Hawksworth, Eduardo Sanchez

Notable Bench Players

The bench has some interesting players -- you have defensive replacements in Jack Wilson and Coco Crisp, some pop in Brett Wallace, J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel, as well as some versatility in Daniel Descalso. Daric Barton's there, too, but not sure where or when he'd ever play considering Pujols is still a Cardinal here.

What's Good?

Any lineup with Pujols is not bad -- but it's not overwhelming, either. While lacking some of the firepower from Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, there are still some passable players. While there's no Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright, there is Dan Haren and the top two of the rotation are good. The strength of this team -- and Tony La Russa would certainly love this -- is the bullpen. Not only are their Cardinals holdovers of Motte, Boggs, Salas and Sanchez, you also add Perez, Gergerson and Hawksowrth, giving this team plenty of relief options. 

What's Not?

After the top two in the rotation, the rest are pretty pedestrian. McClellan is not only in the rotation -- where he started in 2011 -- but he's also going to be either a No. 3 or No. 4. The outfield isn't terrible, but when you take away Berkman and Holliday, it's going to pale in comparison.

Comparison to real 2011

Let's just get to the point, the margin for error for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals was razor thin, but they stayed on the right side of it just enough to go on to one of the most exciting, improbable runs of all time to capture the World Series title. There is no way this hypothetical team could do anything close to what the real Cardinals did. The offensive firepower isn't the same and there's no Chris Carpenter. No, this team doesn't just fail to win the World Series or make the playoffs, it fails to reach .500 and probably finishes in the bottom half of our made-up NL Central.

Next: Ranking the Homegrown teams.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Since: Dec 23, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:04 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:00 pm

Homegrown Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Anyone see Colby Rasmums' "Now You Know" on talking about his likes/dislikes.  He should have simply said: "I'm Colby Rasmus and I'm as dumb as a box of rocks.  Uhhh, Now you know."


Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:01 pm

Homegrown Team: St. Louis Cardinals

...But it depends on which players show up, the good or bad Rasmus...

I think I speak for most everyone who has watched him when I say... What good Rasmus? He's had one year that qualifies as "above average," but aside from that has shown nothing but frustrating inconsistency.

The success of this franchise compared to the underwhelming talent on their "homegrown" team speaks volumes about the front office and managerial staff.  

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:03 pm

Homegrown Team: St. Louis Cardinals

I think this team is better than .500. But it depends on which players show up, the good or bad Rasmus, the good or bad Crisp. I’d put Crisp in the lineup over Jay, and take my chances. I do think Pujols and the bullpen probably make them a winning team anyway.

I think if LaRussa manages this team, it has 85 wins. I don’t know if he would like to.

Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:34 pm

Homegrown Team: St. Louis Cardinals

I predict Rays #1 homegrown team.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or