St. Louis Cardinals: What the Big FA Signings Mean

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Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Baseball Winter Meetings won’t have quite as much juice in the wake of several big free agent pitcher signings. None involved the St. Louis Cardinals but impact the team nonetheless.

They’re gone. They’re all gone. In the weeks leading up to the Baseball Winter Meetings, which run through next Thursday, the free agent pitching market has mostly dried up. The St. Louis Cardinals have been dormant.

And now, the focus turns to free agent hitters.

All the big fish are available. Former St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jason Hayward could conceivably rejoin his old mates as a significantly richer man. The longer former New York Mets savior Yoenis Cespedes stays on the market, the more everyone forgets what a disaster his postseason was. The Mets, meanwhile, seem intent on pursuing creaky utility man Ben Zobrist (age 34 but with the declining athleticism of a 39 year old) thanks to his great postseason with the Kansas City Royals.

First baseman Chris Davis, once a rumored target of the St. Louis Cardinals, has generated buzz as his old club, the Baltimore Orioles, have seemingly moved on. The O’s traded for former Seattle Mariners first baseman Mark Trumbo last week, presumably replacing Davis in the batting order.

Then there’s Justin Upton. Remember him? He’s been a largely forgotten man so far, perhaps for good reason. He hasn’t topped his career-high 31 homers in 2011, after which his GM in Arizona labelled him a losing player and shipped him off to Atlanta. ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield lists five teams he thinks the one-time first overall draft pick might go. The St. Louis Cardinals aren’t on that list.

Here’s the thing, though. The 2015 St. Louis Cardinals proved the old saw that good pitching beats good hitting. The pressure to add a very good to great starting pitcher remain. Meanwhile, it’s worth looking at how the free agent pitchers who’ve signed might impact the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals.