The Toronto Blue Jays 2016 season has come to an end at the hands of the World Series-bound Cleveland Indians. That said, the St. Louis Cardinals should target a few blue birds to change their feather colors to red.
The St. Louis Cardinals are seeking outfield help, offensive help, and infield help. The Toronto Blue Jays have outfielders, offensive powerhouses, and infield utility players. Two of these blue birds are facing contract status talks that might interest the Cardinals; let’s take a look.
One of the things we aim to do here at Redbird Rants this season is to target players on season-exiting teams as potential trade targets for the St. Louis Cardinals. In previous posts we have looked at players on the Texas Rangers and today we will examine the Blue Jays. Specifically, let’s look at Kevin Pillar and Darwin Barney.
The St. Louis Cardinals would love to find a new center fielder. Is Pillar that player? Pillar enters the winter without a contract but under Blue Jays team control. Kevin’s first arbitration-eligible year is 2018 and his first free agency year is 2021. This type of controlled player has interested the Cardinals in the past but should they consider Pillar?
Let’s look at his career offensive numbers which have all come with the Toronto Blue Jays:
|162 Game Avg.||162||556||68||148||32||2||10||53||16||5||25||95||.267||.303||.385||.688|
This is a nice player for sure. His power is decent-to-good and he hits for a respectable average. I wonder how he might fare in the National League. I also wonder how he might fare with different players surrounding him. Of interest to me is his stolen base count which would be of great benefit to the St. Louis Cardinals.
For comparison sake, let’s look at Randal Grichuk‘s career numbers as he would be the player being supplanted by Pillar:
|162 Game Avg.||162||505||72||128||33||6||25||71||5||5||32||162||.254||.302||.495||.797|
Notice any similarities? I certainly do. While Pillar hits for average at a better rate, barely, than Grichuk, the numbers are staggeringly similar. The exception, of course, is the stolen base count. Is the stolen base count enough to suggest moving Grichuk to left and grabbing Pillar? I hope not.
Before moving on, let’s also add that Grichuk was paid $520,000 in 2016 while Pillar was paid $521,000. Just another similarity…
Let’s move on now to Darwin Barney. Barney, no stranger to the NL-central, has turned himself into a utility player aiming at “super utility” status. In 2016, Barney appeared at second, short stop, third, and the outfield. Could the St. Louis Cardinals use a player like Barney to help shore-up defense and make appearances in the outfield too?
Let’s take a look at Barney’s offensive numbers:
|162 Game Avg.||162||520||62||129||24||4||6||42||5||2||32||67||.249||.297||.343||.641|
|NL (6 yrs)||566||1898||224||465||89||13||19||153||20||5||114||235||.245||.293||.336||.629|
|AL (2 yrs)||119||302||39||82||14||2||6||23||2||2||23||50||.272||.323||.391||.714|
This seven-year veteran has appeared in the NL and AL and, as you can see above, has fared slightly better in the American League. That said, the difference isn’t that remarkable. While Barney has acquired postseason experience, I’m not sold that he is a viable solution the St. Louis Cardinals should seek.
For comparison sake let’s look at Kolten Wong. Why Wong? For starters, Wong began working in 2016 to improve his utility abilities by adding playing time in center field. Here’s a look at his offensive numbers:
|162 Game Avg.||162||518||65||129||19||5||11||49||18||5||37||90||.248||.309||.370||.678|
Notice the similarities to Barney? Offensively there isn’t much to separate these players. Defensively, however, Barney does play a greater number of positions than does Wong but is that enough to warrant a kicking of the tires?
More from St Louis Cardinals Rumors
- Cardinals Rumors: Is Willson Contreras Defense a Concern?
- St. Louis Cardinals: Alejandro Kirk or Danny Jansen?
- Cardinals: Free-agent Cody Bellinger hitting with Matt Holliday
- Cardinals: Pros and cons of free agent targets for St. Louis
- Cardinals: Alex Reyes and Delvin Perez should be cautionary tales
By the way, Wong was paid $1.25M in 2016 and is under a contract that takes him through 2020 with a team option for 2021. Barney was paid $1.05M in 2016 and has no contract for 2017 but is under team control with his first arbitration year in 2017 and his free agency year in 2018. I just don’t see the Cardinals moving to a player like Barney when they have a player like Wong. Now the challenge will be to find regular playing time for Wong. Do you hear that, Mike Matheny?
So, in looking at these two names, I feel that the case for a Toronto trade is severely weakened. Actually, no, I believe the case for a Toronto trade- at least involving these names- is not one the St. Louis Cardinals should find of any interest. These are decent players, yes, but if decent is what the winter will bring then we should expect similar results in ’17 as we had in ’16.
Please, Mozeliak, contemplate this winter deeply and work hard to take these St. Louis Cardinals from decent to great! Thanks for reading!