It’s been over.

The 2010 season was a disaster for the St. Louis Cardinals, but chances are they would have been bent over just a violently by the Phillies as the Reds were in the NLDS. So all things being equal, the collective ‘we’ of Cardinal Nation probably had a net gain by not seeing Roy Halladay or Cole Hammels after the regular season ended.

Finally. The Cards won something.

They also have some work to do. In retrospect, even though we banged on this team all year long, they got to 86 wins. National or Pirate fans would mess their panties with 86 wins. And if you figure that 92-95 wins will get you into the playoffs pretty much every year… the Cardinals were about 7-10 wins off what could be a championship pace.

7-10 wins is some tweaking and experimentation. Not a complete overhaul.

And while I’ve never been one to be labeled a patient person when it comes to rooting for teams, I think the faction of Cardinal fans that are ready to do everything from trade Colby Ramsus to drop Albert Pujols are getting way ahead of themselves.

Yes. People have made the claim that by not picking up Pujols’ contract, they can save money, not deal with the distractions of his pending free-agency in 2011 and turn the page a year early on a player that has peaked. I’ve heard that argument. It’s insane, but it’s not not without its backers.

The majority of fans realize that our biggest qualm with the 2010 Birds wasn’t their lack of talent.  It was their seemingly middling interest in putting together a stretch of wins or getting fired up in series they weren’t being called bitches.

So what are the priorities? Where does the front office start attacking this plan?

1. Sign Pujols. Get it done.

It’s going to hurt writing that check. But the longer this goes on, the worse the whole damn thing gets. Every city the Cardinals go to, it will be trade rumors. Every day it will be a national media feeding frenzy of innuendo. Even if he doesn’t get traded, the free agent talk will begin.

It’s unfair to the city and the team to have this LeBron like situation dangling over everyone for 2011. Take care of this guy. He’s the greatest Cardinal of all-time. You can make your money back off him somehow even if his production drops off in 4-5 years. Cardinal fans will make sure of it.

2. Get a middle infielder.

Skip Shumaker is the perfect Cardinal. He can play multiple positions. Never complains. White. Scrappy. Pretty much the total package. Have him as the super utility guy out there playing 130 games a year like TLR likes and find someone else that can man 2B. If a SS comes onto the market at a fair price, get him instead. But up the middle the Cards were weak sauce in 2010.

3. More arms.

Bring them in, work them out, get a squadron of guys that can start for this team not named Kyle Lohse. If KL comes back and proves himself, then good. But just because he’s owed 14 million dollars next year, doesn’t make him a viable starter.

It was a bad contract. Don’t punish the rest of us for your foolish spending. I’d love to see Penny and Westbrook back if it’s doable. But getting into a situation where Jeff Suppan is getting flat out released and that’s a GOOD thing for the Cardinals? We deserve better.

4. Hire TLR back.

People, there are about 8 more jobs open. Who are the Cardinals going to get that’s better than TLR? Be honest here if you hate the guy. I don’t think all of your points are invalid. But who is better? Who can you say ‘Guy X’ could come in to the Cardinals clubhouse and make a difference?

He isn’t out there. Deal with it.

Is that 7 wins? Couple of dependable starters, a happy Pujols and stronger middle infield. Sounds like 7 wins to me, right.

Well, if the Cardinals players actually gave a flying F. That’d probably help too.

@athooks is on
CardsDiaspora.com and SB Nation STL and Twitter

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