Sam Masterson (@sammasterson22)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s an obvious question among Cardinals Nation, “what does St. Louis need to improve in 2018.” The obvious answer to that question: an impact bat.

The most commonly discussed options: Giancarlo Stanton, J.D. Martinez and Josh Donaldson (not in any particular order). Those three names again came up in Mike Claiborne’s interview with USA Today Columnist Bob Nightengale, on Sports On A Sunday on KMOX.

But so did another, less common name – Manny Machado, shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season.

Their conversation begins at the 31:00 mark:

Claiborne asks the obvious question to Nightengale at the 38:00 mark of the above audio clip. After saying that Stanton will “want out (of Miami) so bad” because it’s a team likely to start a rebuilding process under new owner Derek Jeter. He also put Martinez, an unrestricted free agent this winter, as the other most-likely bat the Cardinals will be bidding for.

Then Claiborne asked about the chances of St. Louis trading with the Toronto Blue Jays for Donaldson.

“Donaldson is perfect. And Donaldson has got the same agent as Manny Machado. So I’d use Donaldson as that one-year bridge, and then give every penny you have for Machado.

gettyimages 835339906 Bob Nightengale: Manny Machado Is A Perfect Cardinal

Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

“I think Machado is a perfect Cardinal, and would spend the rest of his career there.”

The plan was said slightly tongue-in-cheek, although not unlikely to think that a team could get on the good side of Dan Lozano, Donaldson and Machado’s agent, this winter. Setting up the acquisition of Machado next winter.

Machado, 25, is already a three-time All Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and has finished inside the top-10 for AL MVP three times.

So, if we travel to Cardinals Nation Fantasy Land for minute: St. Louis trades for Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, to play third base in 2018. Lets him walk after one season, then goes after Machado in the offseason, and you’ve got a possible Hall of Fame infielder (third or shortstop).

The (humongous) risk: If Machado and Lozano take a better deal in free agency, then whatever St. Louis gave up to get Donaldson becomes possibly one of the worst trades in Cardinals history.

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