Looking at the St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason one can see at least five moves that should have been made by now.
With the recent comments from the front office on the likelihood of moves being made between now and spring training, this list could serve as moves the St. Louis Cardinals‘ offseason should have consisted of. If this is the case it will be a severe disservice to the fans who expected a busy offseason.
1. Sign a backup infielder
This one doesn’t jump out as an immediate need to the St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason most but it is one that I think they had a chance to improve on. I know that Greg Garcia has had his moments as a utility infielder at a variety of spots on the infield. However, he was dreadful last season, and expecting improvement is very wishful thinking on the Cardinals part.
The most important reason I think that they need to do this is Paul DeJong. The Cardinals know all too well that a strong sophomore year is not a guarantee for DeJong. He did have an incredible rookie year for the Cardinals considering he didn’t even spend a full season with the club.
There is a lot of swing and miss to his game and you can expect big league pitchers and pitching coaches to do their best to expose that this season. How DeJong adjusts will be a key to the Cardinals season.
It’s for this reason that the Cardinals should have attempted to find themselves a capable backup middle infielder to play SS in case DeJong scuffles and be at least capable offensively. It’s for this reason that I found the Aledmys Diaz trade a little odd.
Not to say that I think Diaz was going to turn things around and be an all-star again, but it at least seemed possible that he could be a serviceable backup option that would be an offensive upgrade over a struggling Greg Garcia.
There have been a number of strong candidates for this position that are either still available or have signed. I wouldn’t have minded potentially taking a flier on Zack Cozart at his cost and used him as a super utility between 3B/SS/2B. He would have been a great guy off of the bench and would have made the lineup better on a day/day basis.
The best fit for this need would likely be Eduardo Nunez, he’s comfortable at all three positions and has a lively bat. Splitting time between San Francisco and Boston last year, he posted a 110 OPS+. His defense may not be great, but he’s not exactly horrible either. He’s absolutely someone who would fit well and shouldn’t cost much either.
2. Bolstered the rotation
The Cardinals’ offseason should have made is a move to bolster the starting rotation. While I’m not one to necessarily believe the team should have gone after someone like Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta. I think they absolutely should have considered another small prove it type move for an SP that could fill in the back of the rotation.
If they didn’t wind up needing him, at the price they paid for a small upgrade of the back end SP, they could have moved the guy to the bullpen. I know the Cardinals have Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty available and I’m very much excited about both of these guys.
However, another arm in the rotation wouldn’t hurt that bad right now. I trust Adam Wainwright wants to prove the doubters wrong and that he’s going to do his best to be better. My question is, what if he’s not?
Not only that, but Michael Wacha always brings about questions. Unfortunately, you also have to consider any long-term injury potential with pitchers as well. It won’t seem like a normal Cardinals’ season if one of the team’s starters doesn’t go down with a significant injury. All of these things considered, it seems puzzling that they won’t add at least one veteran arm.
3. One More Big Bat
One of the Cardinals’ offseason moves also should have made is acquiring another big bat to compliment the Marcell Ozuna trade. Even though Ozuna should be fine to continue his torrid numbers another bat would help shore things up. While I am not a massive proponent of signing Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas, there have been other options out there.
The team did it’s due diligence to kick the tires on Josh Donaldson and unfortunately, Toronto has their head in the sky thinking they will be contenders this season. I think the team missed out on a good addition in Carlos Santana. While I understand them not wanting to add a starter because of the plethora of pitchers in the minors, but there is not really a great bat waiting in the wings.
Another bigger bat at the corners could have moved Jedd Gyorko to a utility role and made the lineup even deeper. This would have solved the first problem that we mentioned regarding the potential regression of Paul Dejong. While the options are not that great out there, this should have been explored a little more.
4. Trading Grichuk
This has nothing personally to do with Randal Grichuk. It simply is just a move that should have been made this offseason. Every year Grichuk’s overall value decreases. He’s gone from a wRC+ of 138 to 104 to 94 over the last three seasons. His WAR has gone from a 3.1 to 2.2 to 1.4 in the same time period.
He also has made no adjustments to his plate discipline. He continues to strike out at about a 30% clip and his OBP continues to decline. Eventually, there will be absolutely no value left for him. Trading Grichuk would have opened up the ability to promote Harrison Bader or Tyler O’Neill to a full-time position with the big league club. Both of these players’ profiles have better potential for more help with the team as a fourth outfielder.
While I don’t think the Cardinals would get a ton in return for Grichuk; this is probably their last opportunity to get much of anything for him. Grichuk’s power profile still brings value at this point especially considering he’s only 26.
However, the closer Grichuk gets to 30 the lower his potential will fall and eventually it won’t be as bright. It just seems like he’s had his time with the Cardinals and they are best sending him off elsewhere.
Editor’s Note: This piece was written before Randal Grichuk was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays
5. Upgrading the Bullpen
This is the most obvious and glaring need for this team. I am shocked that this team is not going to attempt to better upgrade this big hole. If the front office wants us to believe that this team is going to be better than 2017, they should have done more than grabbing Luke Gregerson.
There were so many options out there for this team to consider. Just to name a few, you had Addison Reed, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland all available. To not add at least one of these guys or another name not mentioned here is a big time fail.
The excuse of free agent relievers not always panning out is weak at best. They obviously saw some value in Gregerson and Brett Cecil last year. With it being painfully obvious the last two postseasons how valuable bullpens are, I can’t conceive how this team thinks their bullpen is okay. Maybe they are just blowing smoke, who knows.
While there are some interesting in-house options for most of these moves. I just think the time is now to make a statement in this division. But, we should know by now, that a Cardinals’ offseason doesn’t usually contain statement moves. What are your thoughts on the Cardinals’ offseason so far? Would you make these same moves? Let us know in the comments section or on social media. We’d love to hear from you.