MLB Offseason Preview: St. Louis Cardinalsby Joel Dorcas December 9, 2020 2 comments
2020 marked another season where the St. Louis Cardinals were very mediocre. The 30-28 regular-season record coupled with an early two games-to-one defeat to the Padres in the Wild Card round showed us that there is plenty of room for improvement. How will this storied franchise handle things before the 2021 season rolls around? Perhaps a few significant additions can stir the drink and make this team a true contender once again.
Improve the Offence
Despite Dakota Hudson going for Tommy John surgery just this past September and Adam Wainwright potentially leaving, the Cards are still stocked well in all facets of pitching. Genesis Cabrera and Matthew Liberatore could have big roles for 2021 which could alleviate the loss of Hudson and Wainwright. It’s well within the realm of possibility that the Cards can field a top-tiered pitching attack.
The glaring weakness that needs addressing is offensive production. St. Louis finished the shortened campaign 26th in OPS and 28th in runs scored amongst all teams. Besides Paul Goldschmidt and a return to form from Paul DeJong this team desperately lacks offensive punch.
Keys to the Offseason
Decide on Yady and Waino
Two fan-favorites are well within the twilight of their respective careers. Catcher Yadier Molina wants a two-year deal but management may not commit to more than a year. Starting pitcher and clubhouse leader Wainright is also a free agent. He performed well in his age 39 season, but is he worth bringing back? The Cardinals may not need his services where they have a good crop of arms ready to be supplemented into bigger roles. Molina has aged fairly well and can still be looked upon to get the best out of the pitching staff, but it may be time to move on.
Bolster the Lineup
Free agents and former key contributor 2B Kolton Wong and the aforementioned team legend and catching guru Molina as well as Wainwright are all looking for new contracts. With a roster chock-full of good pitching, perhaps this historic franchise should make a pitch at one of the big-ticket free agents this offseason. The team will have glaring holes at second and could use another outfield bat with pop. Third base can be platooned between Matt Carpenter and Tommy Edman. Carpenter profiles better as a DH only facing righties type player (or better yet, a bat off the bench). You can definitely make an argument that another utility player is on the team’s wish list.
J.T. Realmuto C 30
Realmuto is in peak physical condition and has yet to show any ill effects from being behind the plate for the entirety of his career. It would likely take at least four years and max money for the best catcher in baseball. The Cardinals are already set at First with Goldy so that won’t be an option to give Realmuto a break. The DH however should be implemented full time soon enough so there will be some flexibility in the future. If the Cards are looking for just a stop-gap they can look to 30-year-old Mike Zunino as an alternative. Realmuto can be an impact bat as well as an all-around great player but our next suggestion would be more ideal.
D.J. LeMahieu 2B/3B 32
If the Cards haven’t broken the bank to fill other holes they can with this super utility hitting machine. Just like Realmuto, LeMahieu is amongst the best if not the best at the position. Pony up max dollars again for at least three to five years if they can lure him in. An alternative to this very expensive option would be another player who can play third or second, left-handed hitting Tommy LaStella.
Joc Pederson OF 28
Jackie Bradley Jr. is also on the market but the Cards need more than a plus fielding player to man an outfield spot. Pederson can provide 30 plus homer potential to a lineup that ranked dead last in long balls. A three to four-year deal would work well for both sides.
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