3 Cardinals who won’t be back next season if they miss the playoffs

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Aug 15, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals made it known since last winter that they planned on making the postseason. If they don’t, these three players won’t return to the team.

The St. Louis Cardinals showed their hands this offseason that they were going all-in on making the postseason. That was evident after they re-signed Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, in addition to pulling off the blockbuster trade for Nolan Arenado. They looked to be the favorites to win the NL Central on paper.

Flash forward to Aug. 17, and the Cardinals sit in third place in the division well behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers. However, they are just four games behind the San Diego Padres for the final NL Wild Card spot. If the Cardinals fail to make it into the postseason, we can essentially guarantee that these three players won’t be back for the 2022 campaign.

3.

J.A. Happ

LHP St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals pitching staff went into disarray after ace Jack Flaherty was sidelined for over two months after suffering a left oblique injury back in May. St. Louis failed to get a certified ace at the trade deadline like Max Scherzer or Jose Berrios. So, they opted to acquire veteran J.A. Happ from the Minnesota Twins.

Trading for Happ was a bit puzzling by the Cardinals, considering he carried a bloated 6.77 ERA through 19 starts with the Twins. Yet, he has improved since arriving in St. Louis.

In his three starts with the Cardinals, Happ recorded a 1.62 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, a 2-0 overall record and 11 strikeouts over 16.2 innings of work.

Happ is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season. If that is the case, it is hard to see the Cardinals bringing him back, especially since there are a ton of big-name starters set to hit the open market this upcoming winter.

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