What I like most about Fowler is his approach at the plate. He works it, as any good lead-off hitter should. If he came here that would allow Matt Carpenter to hit third. He offers some power and speed, particularly with his first-to-third baserunning. By playing deeper, he became a decent center fielder last season, although its debatable whether he would offer an upgrade over Grichuk. But some configuration of Fowler-Grichuk-Piscotty would cover more ground than an outfield that often had Matt Holliday or Brandon Moss in left field. But . . . four years for between $60 million and $90 million? That's rich, given his age and his potential to regress.
The marketplace will dictate what happens. Maybe the Cardinals settle for a left fielder instead, one way or another, and just leave Grichuk in center field for a year while Harrison Bader gets more seasoning at Memphis. There are mixed signals with teams like the White Sox and Diamondbacks on just how willing they are to make trades. And other than Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gomez, free agency doesn't offer many options.
The combination of Wong's poor productions (.226 with zero extra base hits in April) and the plethora of infield options left Kolten as the odd man out last year. Nothing personal there -- Kolten just didn't get it done. He has also been prone to silly fielding mishaps. Greg Garcia excelled in limited duty early on and Gyorko went on a homer tear. Can't blame Matheny for going with the other guys. But Wong IS a big piece of the future and I expect John Mozeliak to reduce the roster clutter to ensure he gets playing time next season.
If he can play center field -- a position he showcased during his workouts -- than he could have been a nice long-term piece. Bidding was pretty heavy on the guy. Like you say, that wasn't an extreme price. It'll be interesting to see how he pans out, compared to some of the other international guys the Cardinals already have in the pipeline.
Sale has an attractive contract, but dealing Alex Reyes for him would be insane. Alex could be the No. 2 starter for years while taking up no payroll space. With Martinez, Reyes, Lynn, Wainwright, Leake and Garcia stacked up in the rotation -- with Wacha, Weaver and perhaps Rosenthal moving in behind them -- I don't see the urgency to add Sale.
The Cardinals always look ahead. And they are always willing to add more prospects, even while trying to contend in the near-term. That is part of their attempt to be good every year. So, yes, some of their current assets could be flipped for future assets once the more immediate needs are taken care of.
Myers is a nice athlete who may yet develop into a plus hitter. But he played almost exclusively at first base last year an that spot is Carpenter's for years to come. Ozuna restored his power last season and is just hitting his prime. Attractive player -- but why would the Marlins move him?
Making two separate trades for PR reasons is dumb. The Cardinals don't need to play that game, given their success and their support base. But either way. I can't see them trading eight or nine prospects to fill one need and add one more starting pitcher to a very large pile.
Cespedes has danger written all over him, especially on the sort of long-term deal he can command in such a depressed outfield market. Also, he's on his fourth team since breaking in during the 2013 season and possibly looking to make it No. 5 in free agency. That speaks volumes to his potential fit here.
Yeah, that homer surge gets your attention. It will be interesting to see what sort of trade offers Minnesota gets for him. Peak value!
Yelich is an attractive player. His gap power became real power last season. Adding a young veteran would be far more appealing that spending big money and/or assets to get a thirtysomething outfielder with two or three good years left.
It seems the Yankees are entertaining bids on Gardner, who has the wheels Mozeliak is seeking for the outfield. But for Garcia? It will be interesting to see how other teams view Jaime. The fact there is no little in free agency makes anybody with a pulse more attractive in a trade, so perhaps the Cardinals can exploit the market.
The trouble with trading for a "transformative" player is that they are rarely traded. Colorado would be stupid to trade Arenado. But if they did, they should seek the world for him and other franchises have more blue chip prospects in hand. I believe Mozeliak is more open to making such a deal, even with "Hackgate" punishment looming, but can he win the bidding? Also, he is one of the few GMs trying to contend every year. Other teams are more desperate and more willing to overspend to take one run. Other GMs lack his long-term job security.
Lynn was healthy at the end of the summer, so to me he is still a 15-victory guy. That creates a strong Top 3, backed by several guys capable of posting double-digit victory totals.
We'll see. Again, what will the market bear? While he doesn't have a mother lode of Top 100 prospects in hand, he has some interesting pieces and the ability to take on lots of salary. If the Tigers and White Sox are serious about hitting the restart button, this could be a pretty rich trade market. The Diamondbacks don't have to dump salaries just yet, but with a new GM in place we could see some action there too. This could be one of the most interesting and unpredictable trade markets in memory.
Actually, management has said none of those things. Peralta isn't guaranteed a starting job, Wainwright might be the No. 4 starter and Rosenthal is no longer the closer. But the Cardinals will contend next season, as they did last season, and they are positioned to make value additions as they did last winter with Jedd Gyorko. Just as Aledmys Diaz graduated into a key role, so will Alex Reyes.
Just giving Derrick a break. I'm well-rested.
We're seeing trades already. No factor there. As for free agency, the fact this is such a terrible crop has more to do with the pace than the CBA uncertainty. If this was a loaded class, teams would cough up the first-round pick to make sure they got the guy they wanted. They would spend the dollars too. But this is a pretty sorry group, particularly on the pitching side. Guys like Fowler and Desmond who got stiffed in last year's market are going to get paid this time around. But how much? That will take time to sort.
Yeah, Alex Reyes is stale. Same with Aledmys Diaz, an all-star as a rookie. Same with Carlos Martinez. St. Louis is sick of Stephen Piscotty after all those years in right field.
Sure, a proven starter could go out the door. Dealing a guy like Leake after a terrible season won't be easy, but, then again, there isn't much pitching to be had out there.
Given all the time he missed, he was easily overlooked.
If the Cardinals can trade for a younger outfielder, like some of the ones mentioned earlier, that would be preferable to spending a first-round pick and excess salary (in both dollars and years) for a B or B-plus free agent in his 30s. Fowler, Desmond, Gomez . . . the risk/reward quotient could become unfavorable on those guys.