It's early to write off Husso for next season, but the rough start for San Antonio colors things a bit. It will be interesting to see where the Sergei Bobrovsky market goes in free agency. Beyond that, the trade market might be full of unappealing, faded veterans like Tuukka Rask and Cory Schneider. Blues goaltending next season looks like a TBA scenario.
Yeah, the Cardinals have a couple of nice third base prospects, but neither can help next season. So how are those prospects help elevate the Cardinals next season? How do they fill the hole at third base? As for right field, reviving or replacing Dexter Fowler is a priority. But the immediate internal options are better there than a third base.
I would want Kris Bryant off their roster. He is going to need gigantic money on his next deal and I wonder if the Cubs are going to make that work. To get him, I would be willing to trade Jack Flaherty and some lesser parts. Oh, and Javier Baez could be a very attractive Plan B. The Cubs should lock them both in forever, but can they afford that.
Wong hit .285 two years ago and last season he hit .317 after the All-Star break, between his multiple muscle strains. He has been prone to mechanical breakdowns with his swing, but overall I'd be more concerned about his ability to stay healthy than his ability to hit.
He wants to play shortstop and the Cardinals don't believe he can play shortstop sufficiently to stay there. Then there is whole attitude thing, which took center stage in the postseason. The Cardinals want less of that sort of thing, not more of it.
I believe that would make sense for the Cardinals, if Donaldson would go for it. Clearly the team had interest in him before and it's not hard to imagine them bidding on him again. But will Josh go for a longer-term deal now or bet on himself with a shorter contract and try again after a healthy season?
If Dexter can hit like he did two years ago, he can fill a spot somewhere down in the order, like sixth. He was a decent run producer after yielding the leadoff spot to Carpenter. But will fans sit still while he bats .180 again? Nope.
The Cardinals will convert young prospects, as they did with Carson Kelly, a high school third baseman. Sometimes players convert in college, like key prospect Andrew Knizner did at North Carolina State. But deep into a pro career it's tough. It's one thing to become an emergency catcher, like Nick Stavinoha did, taking some reps in spring training, but it's another thing to become good enough to function well at the big league level.
OK, but some of these Mizzou unis, some of these helmets, some of these colors . . .
The Cardinals wish Dave Stewart and Tony La Russa were still running the D-Backs. Their deal for Shelby Miller was stunningly one-sided toward Atlanta. If Goldschmidt is just a rental, then a top pitching prospect (Not Flaherty, Hicks or Reyes), a good prospect and an OK prospect might get it done for one year of him. Now if he is willing to sign an extension, the price goes up.
The top end of the free agent market looks pretty good. The Cardinals don't appear willing to go long-term for a guy like Craig Kimbrel, but Zach Britton's name keeps coming up. There are number of trade options out there to add depth to what could be a very young bullpen if the team cycles out Cecil and fills the relief corps with converted young starters.
I don't the 40-man roster crunch as severe as others do, so my suggestion would be to give him one one more spring to see if he can find his old self. Might as well, since the Cardinals will be paying him one way or another.
Add both Goldschmidt and Donaldson while ditching Carpenter? I suppose they could go that far to truly shake things up. It would be interesting to see what value Carpenter has in the trade market. That said, imagine what kind of year he could have late in his contract by starting well and finishing well. He hit at a MVP level through the middle of the season.
I believe management has come to realize that Carpenter cannot play second base except under the most dire emergencies.
This team must identify its defensive pairs, build continuity and clean up their play in their zone. There is still too much running around in their end and too many mistakes being made coming up ice.
Right field was an offensive abyss last season because Dexter Fowler played out there week after week after week while hitting below the Mendoza Line. The fix there is to PLAY SOMEONE ELSE there instead, unless Fowler comes backs and regains his old form. Jose Martinez had an .824 OPS playing in right field and Tyler O'Neill had an .866 OPS there in very limited duty.
The Cardinals can afford Goldschmidt, who has one year and $14.5 million left on his contract. And the team can afford to eat Fowler's contract and send him home if it comes to that. And the team has the ability to build the NL's best pitching staff, top to bottom, with so many arms in place. Now, eating Fowler's contract AND winning the crazy bidding war for Harper . . . the Cardinals could do that, but putting the money toward other needs (corner infield, bullpen) seems smarter.
Harper is a very, very nice player, but transformational? I didn't see him transform the Nationals into anything special. He's not Mike Trout or Nolan Arenado.
The Cardinals are clearly seeking an offensive upgrade and I don't know how could think otherwise. The team is very clear about that. Fundamentally, yes, the team needs to be better. A full year of Harrison Bader, Marcell Ozuna with a throwing arm and less down time for Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong would make the Cardinals better defensively. Playing O'Neill in right field could help that as well, as would filling third base need with a capable fielder.
Depending on the price, renting Goldschmidt for a year could make sense for a team desperate to get back in the postseason without making a lot of long-term contract commitments.