ORLANDO (KMOX) – After the St. Louis Cardinals struck out in its pursuit of reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, what’s next for the club?
For a while now, the club has used the term “impactful bat” to describe what they covet to add to the lineup. But Stanton is a Yankee now. He put the pinstripes on at a news conference on Monday, and left Cardinals fans to wonder where the team turns now that he is off the table.
Here are a few candidates:
MARCELL OZUNA – MIAMI MARLINS, 2017: .312/.376/.548, 37HR, 124RBI
Ozuna is appealing for a few reasons. Not only have the Cardinals already negotiated with Miami, but he almost fits as a “Stanton lite.” The power numbers are what the Cardinals have been missing since Matt Holliday’s prime. He is coming off a career year, so there is a question as to whether he can replicate and build on what he did in 2016. Also, he is a free agent in two years, so how much is the team willing to give up for a player that could leave in free agency.
CHRISTIAN YELICH – MIAMI MARLINS, 2017: .282/.369/.439, 18HR, 81RBI
Yelich is another candidate whom Miami could dangle due to the Stanton negotiations. He is a different offensive player than Ozuna, but also potentially more well-rounded with a team-friendly contract. He is a good defender and baserunner. He also adds a left-handed presence to a lineup that could sorely use it.
J.D. MARTINEZ – FREE AGENT, 2017: .303/.376/.690, 45HR, 104RBI
Martinez has always had tantalizing power potential and numbers, but in short bursts due to injuries. Last year after being traded to the Diamondbacks, he put together a monstrous second half of the season, hitting 29 HR in 62 games for Arizona. He is represented by Scott Boras and will likely command a mammoth deal, perhaps north of 7-years and $200 million dollars. There are also questions about his defensive abilities and how he fits, especially after the first few years, with a National League club.
EVAN LONGORIA – TAMPA BAY RAYs, 2017: .261/.313/.424, 20HR, 86RBI
Longoria has been a star player in MLB and the face of the Rays for a long time. And the Cardinals connection to the third baseman also has to do with Tampa’s star closer, Alex Colome. Last year, Longoria slid a bit offensively, but still plays an excellent defensive third base. There is speculation that Tampa Bay could want a team that desires Colome, to take Longoria’s contract in any deal for the closer. The money isn’t overwhelming, and perhaps he could experience a resurgence moving out of the American League East and into the NL.
CARLOS GONZALEZ – FREE AGENT, 2017: .262/.339/.423, 14HR, 57RBI
The Cardinals have also been connected to Gonzalez in the past. The 32-year-old free agent is only two seasons removed from a 40 HR season, and is not only a left-handed bat, but also a potential defensive upgrade in the OF. He may only command a few years in a deal, and could be a buy-low candidate primed for a bounce back year offensively.
JOSH DONALDSON – TORONTO BLUE JAYS, 2017: .270/.385/.559, 33HR, 78RBI
It’s unclear if the Blue Jays are willing to move Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP. Donaldson is an excellent defender at third base, and has 111 HR’s combined over his last three seasons. It would probably take a significant package to acquire the free agent to be, and the question becomes how much a team would be willing to give up for a player that could potentially walk away after this upcoming season.