ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – At this point, the Cardinals should call about Mike Trout.
Wait, they’ve already done that.
The thing is, the Cardinals don’t have to pull off a trade for any of those players. But with better prospects than just about anyone else – and deep pockets – the Redbirds have the ability to make any kind of deal they want.
So it shouldn’t shock anyone if it gets out that they’re asking around, as un-Cardinal-like as that might be. With a $1.3 billion television deal about to kick in, the mid-size market franchise now has the resources to play ball with the wealthy clubs… and the rich players. It’s no longer forbidden to dip into the reserve. The Cardinals can maintain their philosophy of growing their own talent and supplementing that roster with an infusion of outside help.
It is somewhat reminiscent of the offseason of 2000, when the Cards fortified their pitching staff by making trades for Pat Hentgen, Darryl Kile and Dave Veres. They signed Mike Matheny, who became a Gold Glove catcher that season. Then late in spring training, they struck a deal for a Gold Glove outfielder with some pop: Jim Edmonds. A total clubhouse change was complete and a championship era was underway.
The Cardinals, as it has now been widely reported, have kicked the tires on Stanton, the NL MVP. He has $295 million and ten years remaining on his contract. With a no-trade clause and the ability to say “no” to any team, Stanton can sit back and see which teams are the most attractive in terms of winning, geography, whatever. If he decides nothing is appealing enough and he’d rather stay in South Beach, he can do that. But unless the Marlins significantly upgrade their pitching, it doesn’t look like they’ll be a true contender in 2018.
The Cardinals have pitching. Young, exciting pitching prospects. And this is a reason why they’ll be able to find ample trading partners if Stanton goes elsewhere. If they can get the Blue Jays engaged, perhaps third baseman Josh Donaldson can be that impact bat they covet. Maybe they spend a little money on Eric Hosmer at first base. Maybe they acquire both?
There is a lot to do, we know that. Who is in the rotation? With Lance Lynn officially on the free agent market, the Cards have a need for a veteran starter. It’s a young group in need of a stable starter who can give them innings and experience, especially with Adam Wainwright coming off an injury.
They can’t go back to the relievers from last season. The bullpen needs a major makeover. Trevor Rosenthal’s injury eventually led to his unconditional release. Rosenthal recorded 45 saves in 2014 and a club-record 48 in 2015. The Cardinals haven’t had a consistent closer since then… and haven’t made the playoffs, either.
Who is in the outfield? I mean, aside from the 37 outfielders they currently have vying for a spot on the roster? That’s an exaggeration, of course, but beyond Tommy Pham’s outstanding 2017, no one seemingly has a spot locked down, not even Tommy, really. He could return to LF or play CF if Dexter Fowler is indeed moved to a corner spot. Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty don’t know their future. Intriguing minor league OF’s Harrison Bader and Magneuris Sierra are close to breaking out. Are any of them really the impact bats the Cardinals are looking for?
Not even Paul DeJong or Yadier Molina, who had very good offensive seasons, could guarantee production in the No. 3 spot in the order.
If they land Stanton, who slammed 59 home runs to go along with 132 RBI’s, the spot is filled. But with or without him, there is a long list for Santa Claus with plenty of space under the tree.
It’s okay to make a few extra calls to the store this winter, just for fun.