Some history here. Taveras was one of the top hitting prospects of his generation, and widely regarded as the best position player prospect the Cardinals had since Albert Pujols. Let's not retrofit these descriptions on Randy Arozarena because he had a good October. It's unfair to him, and it's unfair to what was expected from the late Oscar Taveras before his death.
Also, Fowler as a panic move? That's a loose connection, at best. In the month after Taveras death the Cardinals traded for Jason Heyward. This was their move to get a young outfielder who they felt they could recruit and sign long term to be the RF they had hoped Taveras would be. That was a direct line. They spoke about it at time. Heyward elected to sign with the Cubs as a free agent. He liked their vibe, their feel, the city -- all of it better. And in the long run will be better compensated as a result, in part because of the World Series victory in 2016 -- with Dexter Fowler as a teammate. The rush to sign Fowler was triggered by another event: Washington's trade for Adam Eaton. The Cardinal spoke to the White Sox at length about acquiring Eaton to be a corner outfielder, leadoff hitter, scrappy addition to the offense. They saw him as the fit -- and they liked his contract better than what they would have to offer in the open market. They were stunned at the price the Nats paid in prospects to get Eaton. It completely flipped the calculus the Cardinals took into that market. All of sudden a player like Eaton, because of the contract he had, was commanding the best prospects available, like Flaherty, for example. The look on their faces when they did not pull of that deal and what the Nats ultimately offered was memorable. So they pivoted to the market that wasn't going to cost them prospects -- the free-agent market. They upped the offer by a year to Fowler to woo him to be their leadoff hitter and center fielder. They went "over the top" I was told make the deal happen. That's the order of events.
And, yes, we can sit here and suggest that Fowler not producing as expected or Ozuna not producing as expected or Grichuk not producing as hoped or any of the outfielders who paraded by in the time since Taveras not producing as expected or hope pushes the Cardinals are year further into their quest, and eventually -- now seven years later -- it's about why they cannot develop that player, not how they're missing a player.