St. Louis Cardinals Hot Stove: 4 Under-the-Radar FA, Trade Targets

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Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Every glance at the St. Louis Cardinals’ offensive numbers from 2015 is a reminder that statistics don’t tell the whole story. On paper, that team should have limped to a third-place finish in the National League Central, out of postseason contention by the end of August.

The 2015 St. Louis Cardinals ranked 8th in the National League with a .716 OPS and 9th with a .394 slugging percentage. When runners did get on, they weren’t great at putting themselves into position to score. According to Baseball Prospectus, the team ranked 23rd in baseball with -6.1 base running runs, a stat showing runs generated by savvy base running — whether tagging from third on a fly ball, stealing a bag or going from first to third on a single.

Here’s where things get kind of ugly for the St. Louis Cardinals. Its best baserunner in 2015 was Jason Hayward, he of the soon-to-receive $200+ million contract from some other deep-pocketed team.

At least the St. Louis Cardinals will have its leading run producer back. According to the number crunchers at ESPN, third baseman Matt Carpenter was 15th in the Majors with 6.75 runs produced per 27 outs. There’s only one free agent who did better. Big bopper Chris Davis, the first baseman whose potential value to his next team has Cardinals Nation tearing itself apart.

The truth is, the St. Louis Cardinals batting order needs more than just a thumper. It needs players who are good at scoring runs by whatever means necessary. Here are 4 rumored and confirmed to be available who could work: