ST. LOUIS — "Hindsight is 20/20" is one of sports' most timeless clichés. There's always some action or inaction a team or player takes we'd like to go back and correct. It's easy to second-guess with the benefit of time.
The Cardinals have hit on a lot of prospects over the past ten years. Their scouting and player development department has proven to be one of the best in baseball when it comes to developing homegrown talent.
But if you've seen pretty much any baseball highlights this season, you've likely seen a lot of two guys who could, or perhaps should, be making those highlight-reel plays while wearing the birds on the bat.
Missing on Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Robert is going to haunt the Cardinals for years to come.
Earlier this summer, Fernando Tatis Sr., who played in St. Louis from 1998 to 2000, notably becoming the first and only player to hit two grand slams in the same inning, made some headlines when he talked about all the chances the Cardinals had to sign his now superstar son.
According to reporter Hector Gomez, in an interview, Tatis Sr. said his son had 19 try outs with the Cardinals, but was never signed.
Tatis Jr. went on to sign with the Chicago White Sox, where he was later traded to the San Diego Padres.
Now, he's a leading contender for 2020 National League MVP and one of the most exciting stars in baseball. As of this writing, Tatis Jr. is leading Major League Baseball in runs, home runs, RBI, OPS+ and total bases.
Luis Robert is a slightly different story.
The Cardinals knew they wanted him. They made an offer. But it wasn't enough, and he also signed with the White Sox.
Sure, there were external factors that contributed to Robert not coming to St. Louis such as a penalty the team would have incurred for overspending on its international signing limit that year, but hindsight confirms it would've been worth it.
Robert wanted to be in Chicago, but if they would've wanted it to happen, the Cardinals could've made it happen.
Now, Robert is one of the leading candidates for American League Rookie of the Year and has been hitting bombs like this on a nightly basis.
At the time of the writing, Robert has 11 home runs, 27 RBI and an OPS of .876 for the exciting, upstart White Sox.
It's always easy to go back and second-guess decisions with the benefit of hindsight. But when these guys are so good so early in their careers and the Cardinals had legitimate shots at getting both of them, it stings significantly more.
These aren't just guys who you miss on and think, "darn that's too bad". These are the type of guys you have to watch win World Series titles and MVP Awards in another uniform.
They'll be two misses that will give the Cardinals nightmares for years and years to come.