Can the St. Louis Cardinals Get Freddie Freeman?
By Chris Gigley
So this morning I found this interesting Tweet by NBCSports lead baseball writer Craig Calcaterra that immediately made me think of the St. Louis Cardinals’ gaping hole at first base:
From what I’ve gathered from his voluminous tweeting, Calcaterra is an Atlanta Braves fan and was
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
probably being scarcastic. That’s the tone of many of his tweets, which is why I love him and encourage St. Louis Cardinals fans to give him a follow.
But one thing led to another, as it always does on the Internet, and I finally landed on Ken Rosenthal’s report yesterday that the Braves are indeed shopping their one and only offensive star. Wow. This is a stunner, and it speaks to the success of the Houston Astros’ complete organizational tear-down several years ago. More on that later.
Meanwhile, we now know Atlanta is willing to part not only with Freeman. They’re also shopping any player who’s carrying a significant contract, including 24-year-old Colombian righthander Julio Teheran
Teheran was a top prospect in their system a few years ago and had an All-Star season in 2014. Last year, however, his ERA increased by more than a run, probably thanks to the fact that he walked a career high 73 batters. It’s got to be dispiriting to go out an pitch knowing you’ll get no run support, though. That wouldn’t be a problem in St. Louis.
More about Freeman from Rosenthal’s report:
"Clearly, the Braves do not fear backlash; otherwise, they would not have traded shortstop Andrelton Simmons. From a financial perspective, they might be even more motivated to trade Freeman, whose salary will rise from $12 million in 2016 to $20.5 million in ’17."
There is some risk with Freeman, as Rosenthal noted in his article. The sweet-swinging Freeman sat out the last week of the season with wrist soreness, a red flag given that his right wrist had been a problem virtually all year.
And yet, Freeman has proven he has the goods and he’s still just 26 years old. He’s an underrated defender and an underrated hitter despite all the praise he gets. Why? Because the Braves offense sucks. He has no protection in that order and sees few hittable pitches. Imagine what he could do in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup.
ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield listed the St. Louis Cardinals among five possible suitors, including a division rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates. He suggested the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves could hook up for another mutually beneficial deal, like the Heyward for Shelby Miller last winter. I’ll just channel my teenage daughter here:
The Braves want young pitching. Or, younger pitching given they’re willing to part with Teheran. If the St. Louis Cardinals can work out a package deal to pry loose the righthander and Freeman, it’ll cost prospects. Great prospects, but players who haven’t proven themselves yet like Freeman and Teheran have.
So do I think the St. Louis Cardinals should trade Alex Reyes? Definitely. Marco Gonzalez? Check. Jack Flaherty? Fine.
Next: Buehrle a Fit for the St. Louis Cardinals
If John Mozeliak does this kind of deal, all of us will be asking ourselves the same question. Jason who?