St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Adams LF Experiment Adds Trade Value
The St. Louis Cardinals will experiment with Matt Adams in left field to add versatility in order to keep his bat active. But could this move also indicate a coming trade?
Matt Adams has been a popular topic this spring. Recent news from the St. Louis Cardinals bumped his name to the top of the news pool yet again when the organization admitted that Adams would workout in the practice fields in a new position: left field.
For a deep review of infielders moving to the outfield and the effectiveness of such a move, jump over and read today’s article by Zach. This dude writes amazing analysis pieces for us here at Redbird Rants. Keep him bookmarked so you don’t miss a thing he writes!
Back to Adams… We St. Louis Cardinals fans who are active on Twitter have certainly read plenty of items related to moving Adams to left– plenty of opinions for sure. While I am interested in the move, I find myself wondering if it has more to do with adding trade value than versatility for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Let me take a selfish promotional moment here to refer to my previous article suggestion that Adams should go to Colorado to replace the injured Ian Desmond. While we know now that Desmond could return within six weeks, I still feel that Adams could be of interest to the Rockies to fill Desmond’s role.
Speaking of Desmond’s role, we should 100 percent recognize that Desmond was planned to be the Rockies’ starting first baseman and backup outfielder as the fourth depth spot in left field and the third depth spot in center field. While it is terribly unlikely that Adams could slot in as the third depth spot in any outfield spot (especially center), I don’t feel it is a stretch for him to be the fourth slot in left field.
Let’s look a little deeper at the depth chart of the Rockies in left field to see if perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals are building enticement for Adams. The Rockies starting left fielder is Gerardo Parra. I reviewed him in my Adams-to-Colorado piece at first base as he is slotted as the third depth position at first base.
As I reviewed in my Adams-to-Colorado piece, Parra owns a 2016 slash line of .253/.271/.399. Adams’ 2016 slash was .249/.309/.471. One thing- offensively- that could really interest the Rockies would be Adams’ slugging which should explode in the thin air of Colorado’s stadium.
Notice here that Adams is already besting Parra in slugging and doing so in a pitcher’s stadium– Busch Stadium.
Chris Denorfia holds the second depth chart at left field for the Rockies currently. This 36-year old was released in August from the San Francisco Giants and signed by the Rockies in January. In all liklihood, this stint with the Rockies is his last-ditch attempt at continuing to play.
Denorfia last appeared in the majors in 2015 when he played for the Chicago Cubs (boo, right?). In 2015, he appeared in 212 at-bats and posted a slash line of .269/.319/.373. In other words, Adams’ numbers are similar but Adams remained in the majors in 2016.
The third depth position in left field is David Dahl. In all honesty, Dahl is likely the strongest competition AGAINST the Rockies having any interest in Adams. Dahl is young and appeared in the majors first in 2016 appearing in 222 at-bats for the Rockies where he posted a .315/.359/.500. With numbers such as these, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dahl take over in left in 2017.
So where does that leave us? Just as I discussed in my earlier Adams-to-Colorado piece, I believe here too that the real competition is Adams against Parra. In other words, any interest the Rockies might hold in Adams- in my opinion- would be to slot Adams in for first base over Parra and to slot him in as a backup outfielder taking Parra’s backup role.
Let’s jump to the chase. I find myself believing my own rumors: I can completely see the Rockies having increased interest in Adams should he show enough ability to play left field.
I can completely see the Rockies, in other words, deciding to take the power rider on Adams over Parra, playing Adams primarily at first base but then allowing him to serve as backup to Dahl in left field. When Adams plays outfield, the Rockies could then use Mark Reynolds at first base.
But wait… Isn’t Dahl out “indefinitely” with a back injury? Would this lend increased interest in some insurance in the way of Adams?
While we have all learned that Desmond could return in six-to-eight weeks, it could well take an additional two weeks to completely return. Adams would be an inexpensive option to add to the Rockies roster. That said, Parra is signed through the 2018 season which could keep the Rockies away from Adams.
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If the Rockies were to pick up Adams, they could decide to send him to AAA (as could the Cardinals since he does still have options) when Desmond returns or simply release him. At his just-north of $2M 2017 contract, a release wouldn’t kill anyone. Playing in Colorado could- however- add even more value to Adams as he would likely blast home runs to high levels in the thin air which could allow yet another trade.
Let’s also take a look and see what, if any, interest might exist for the St. Louis Cardinals from the Rockies. Could a name like Chris Rusin be of interest to the Cards? Could Rusin slot in to protect Adam Wainwright should he falter? To me, this would be the only name that might interest but would likely come at the cost of adding in some youth with Adams in a deal.
I’ve said it before that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the St. Louis Cardinals send Adams to the Rockies simply for roster space (albeit not necessarily needed). This might be the case but it is also far more likely that the Cardinals do nothing with Adams but attempt to find ways to still utilize his bat as bench threat.
Next: Paul DeJong is a Name to Watch
Maybe the Rockies aren’t the intended target… What do you think? I’m going to keep digging but in the meantime, send me your thoughts on Twitter and thanks for reading!