So, the Stanton sweepstakes didn’t go the way the Cardinals wanted. One thing that the organization and the fans can be thankful for is the fact that we finally have closure. The Cards can go into the Winter Meetings guns blazing and they won’t have to wait around for a Stanton decision.
Now, I’m in the minority when I say I didn’t want Stanton to come to St. Louis, but when he informed the world he wouldn’t accept a trade to the Cardinals, I was still a little bit upset. I mean… who in their right mind wouldn’t want to play for such a great organization? At the end of the day, he wants to make the best decision for himself, and he didn’t think the Cardinals were a good enough fit, so I have to respect him for that.
Well, now the Cardinals get to move on to their plan B and plan C options. More rumors get thrown out there every day, and not many entice me, but let’s go over a couple and see how the lineup can shake up.
- Marcell Ozuna – 2017 was a breakout year for Ozuna. The 27 year old outfielder had a monster slash line of .312/.376/.548. He was tied for 19th in MLB with 4.76 WAR (Wins above Replacement) in offensive production. He also won a Gold Glove this past year. He is under team control until 2020 and has lots of upside. If the Cardinals can’t get Stanton, they should inquire about the other outfielders they have available.
- Christian Yelich – Another guy from Miami that would be a great impact guy for the Cardinals. Yelich has been very consistent in his time in the Major Leagues. He doesn’t have quite the power potential that Ozuna has, but he has shown over his 5 year career that he can be a consistent player, wheras Ozuna has only had one stellar year. Yelich owns a career .290 average and has enough pop to be a 20-25 homer guy. He is about a year younger than Ozuna and is under contract through 2021 with an option for 2022.
- Evan Longoria – This is a name that has been floating around more recently as a decent “plan B” for if Stanton doesn’t work out. The Cardinals have already been linked to the Rays for Chris Archer, but more notably for closer Alex Colome. In a dream scenario, you’d see the Cardinals manage to swipe all three players from the Rays, but I believe the prospects we would lose would outweigh the value these players represent. Longoria has been a pretty stable player in his career. He has 3 Gold Gloves to his credit and a career average of .270. He would be battling Jedd Gyorko for the starting 3B position, where they match up rather well. Both players had a solid year, boasting a 3.6 WAR apiece, putting them around 80th in Major League Baseball (including pitchers).
- Eric Hosmer – Hosmer’s name has been floating in Cardinals rumors for most of the off-season so far, and for good reason. He had arguably his best offensive year this past season, and the Cardinals want to have a better defensive team and Hosmer has the Gold Gloves to show that he can be an elite defender at first base. Carpenter doesn’t seem to pass the eye test at first despite numbers showing that he is serviceable at the position.
- Jake Arrieta – I don’t believe the Cardinals are done at the SP position. The pickup of Miles Mikolas isn’t a sure bet because he will need to show he can play against MLB talent this season. I think Arrieta is a great choice. He isn’t the same pitcher he was a couple years ago, but he can be a solid 3-4 guy in your rotation and he knows the NL Central pretty well being with the Cubs.
- Alex Colome – He has team control for a few more years and has 84 saves over the last two seasons. Switching from the American League to the National League could help him a bit. He has good stuff and should be a great addition to the back part of the bullpen.
- Chris Archer – Another TB player that has been linked to the Cards. What a deal it would be if they could pull off Longoria, Colome and Archer in the same deal. Archer is a young talent who is better than the numbers show. He is signed through 2019 with options for 2020 and 2021. He would easily be a 2-3 guy in the Cardinals rotation and would help this team significantly.
This list has changed only slightly since my off-season post. A few names have left and some more names have been added. This will be a very interesting off-season for the Cardinals and I fully expect them to be aggressive at the winter meetings coming up.