It has been rumored that the Detroit Tigers could be shopping two power players and the St. Louis Cardinals should dive head-first at these opportunities.
The St. Louis Cardinals have financial room on their roster and need to use this space now before it is too late. Matt Holliday‘s departure marks the last domino to fall to open additional money for the trade market.
GM Mozeliak surely has a plan, right? The departures of Brandon Moss and Holliday afford the St. Louis Cardinals more than just money: these departures afford- no force- the Cardinals to pick up some players of note and power. Enter the rumors that the Detroit Tigers are shopping Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.
That’s right: Verlander and Cabrera! Wouldn’t these be incredible additions for the Cardinals? Why would the Tigers want to shed these amazing players, you might ask? Verlander is under control through 2019 with a vesting option for 2020. Cabrera is under contract through 2023 with a vesting option for 2024 and 2025. Seriously…
Financially speaking, Verlander is owed $28MM for the next three seasons and his vesting option is valued at $22MM. Cabrera is owed $28MM in 2017, then $30MM in ’18, ’19, ’20, and ’21. But wait, there’s more! Cabrera will make $32MM in 2022 and 2023 and then vest at $30MM in 2024 and a second vesting option valued at $30MM in 2025.
Verlander turns thirty-four in 2017 and will be under contract through his thirty-seventh birthday if he vests. Cabrera turns thirty-four in 2017 and will be under contract through his forty-second birthday if he achieves both vesting options.
Is it likely then that these two players could move? The Cleveland Indians are being noted more and more as the AL-Central powerhouse and this could well encourage the Tigers to shed some money weight to rebuild. Moreover, the ages of these two talented players might lead the Tigers to shop for younger and cheaper talent.
Rumors are already floating about Cabrera despite his no-trade clause and Verlander is mentioned too despite his no-trade clause:
All that said, would the St. Louis Cardinals be interested? Would pick-ups of this nature make sense to a team that is trying to rebuild and refresh? The team certainly has the money to make these moves although they might prohibit future moves.
In terms of places to play, a Cabrera would force Matt Carpenter to vacate first base for the Tigers slugger. Cabrera would, however, fit nicely in the offensive hole that is being left by Matt Holliday. Would Carpenter fare better at third? Perhaps this move makes sense only if Jhonny Peralta departs. Right?
How about Verlander? The 2016-into-2017 St. Louis Cardinals have a plethora of pitchers. Does it make sense to add yet another? Verlander, for his part, is no ordinary addition. In the 2015 offseason the Cardinals aimed for David Price and failed to land the deal; is Verlander the do-over for this failure?
Verlander’s numbers would sure be nice to see wearing the birds on the bat. He completed 2016 at 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA. Verlander achieved an impressive strikeout count in 2016 at 254 which was second only to his best of 269 in 2009. How different would 2016 have been for the St. Louis Cardinals if this power arm had been in the rotation?
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So what might it take to get these deals done? Probably the kitchen sink and the first-born children of the Cardinals front office could make this deal happen. Short of that, could a Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, Harrison Bader, Tommy Pham, Luke Weaver, and other auxiliary minor leaguers make the deal done? It just might but is that the type of deal that will make believers out of Cardinals Nation?
Let’s be honest, the St. Louis Cardinals must do something to keep up with the Cubs and remain competitive against other teams not named “cubs.” An arm like Verlander would do it but at what cost? A bat like Cabrera would do it but at what cost?
I love the idea of these two as Cardinals but I just don’t see it happening. That said, I wouldn’t begrudge Mozeliak for making a move or two like this but don’t want to see us sell the farm for two players near my own age. Didn’t Mo just let Holliday walk at his age due to his fading sun? Can we guarantee that these two won’t fade, especially at their dollar amounts?
What do you think? Would you love these two? Would you take one over the other? Would you take neither of them? You play general manager and let me know your thoughts!