St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Adams needs to call Yankee Stadium home

Apr 27, 2017; St. Louis , MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) hits a RBI double off of Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Casey Lawrence (not pictured) during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2017; St. Louis , MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) hits a RBI double off of Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Casey Lawrence (not pictured) during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Cardinals will face a gluttony of roster players in the coming days with many of them having trouble finding playing time. It is time to finally find a new home for their first baseman known as “Big City.”

Last night, Tito Rivera and Nathan Grime and I hosted the third installment of the Redbird Rants official podcast. In our discussions on the St. Louis Cardinals, we fielded the potential rumors that Matt Adams might be a trade target for the Atlanta Braves after Freddie Freeman had his wrist broken.

Let me say this right out of the gate: I am a HUGE fan of selling Matt Adams. If you have followed me on Twitter and/or read my pieces on Adams here at RedbirdRants then you are well-versed in my insistence that Adams has no place on the 2017 roster of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Here’s why I feel this way… Matt Carpenter‘s move to first base on a full-time basis combined with Adams’ nonexistent bat, makes him a great piece to move. Adams is not a terrible first baseman and could serve another team well.

And, in truth, Adams is not a bad bat to have either if he would learn to lay off the sliders– something he swings and misses with gross regularity. To this point, if I’m an opposing pitcher I’m feeding him slider after slider hitting the opposite corner of the plate and watching Adams’ extremely long swing pass over each ball.

Furthermore, to this point, in 2017, Adams has managed to generate a 2.4 fastball runs above average (essentially a WAR equivalent for pitch type batted). The only other pitch for which Adams owns a positive runs above average is the changeup and this is a miserable 0.4. What about sliders, you ask? Adams has his second-worst number a -0.7 (second only to curveballs at -0.9).

So, if we keep with the idea that the time has come to find Adams a new home, and noting the fact that the Cardinals were rumored to have attempted to shop him before without finding a suitor, we find ourselves looking for a new home based on need over desire. Enter then the idea of the Braves and their recent loss.

That was until it was announced late last night/early this morning that the Braves had acquired James Loney to man first base until Freeman returns. Wished we had known this last night when we were discussing sending Adams to Atlanta.

Nevertheless, the points made last night of who the St. Louis Cardinals would desire from the Braves remain true: the Cardinals would- most likely- receive only prospects and this isn’t something that they need or should want at this point. Is there another club that might need Adams?

During the discussion last night, Tito suggested a potential trade with the New York Yankees. I hadn’t considered that but I did take a deeper look this morning. From my investigation, I think this would be a wonderful fit.

Why would the Yankees want or need Adams? The New York Yankees’ starting first baseman, Greg Bird, is currently on the 10-day disabled list AND he hasn’t had the most stellar beginning to 2017. Through sixty at-bats, Bird owns an almost-Jhonny Peralta-like slash of .100/.250/.200 (Peralta’s 2017 slash is .120/.185/.120).

To his credit, Adam’s 2017 slash is .298/.346/.404 which would make him an improvement over Bird who, by the way, bats left (like Adams) and throws right (like Adams).

In Bird’s absence, veteran Chris Carter (recently with the Brewers) has been taking the bulk of the at-bats. His numbers don’t out-shine Adams either. In seventy-seven at-bats, Carter owns a .221/.299/.351. Would the Yankees prefer taking the rider on Adams over a continuation of Carter? I think they’d be wise to consider it.

The questions turn then to who the St. Louis Cardinals might have interest in receiving in exchange. Adams is under a contract for 2017 only valued at $2.8M (a steal for the Yanks) and is under team control until 2019. With the gluttony of players in the Cardinals system, losing a player with team control isn’t a loss but should bring something positive in return.

With the recent weakness of left-handed relief pitching in the Cardinals pen, the birds would be wise to ask for a LHP in return for their left-handed-batting Adams. The Yankees have Chasen Shreve and Tommy Layne in their MLB pen from the left side. Let’s look at their numbers.

26-year-old Shreve is under team control until 2021 so he might be a tough get from the Yankees. In addition, he is under a very inexpensive contract of $552K with arbitration-eligibility in 2018 (same with Adams). His 2017 numbers are very promising at a 0.00 ERA through a limited 9.2 innings. His 2016 numbers had him appearing in thirty-three innings and posting an ERA of 5.18.

The 2016 numbers help but I think it would be a stretch to secure Shreve at this point without tossing additional incentive to the Yanks. This could come in the way of paying the 2017 salary completely for Adams while picking up Shreve’s salary and/or by adding another piece to the suggested trade (a prospect arm perhaps).

The other lefty in the Yankees pen is Layne. Layne is older at thrity-two but has been in the majors almost the same number of MLB service years as Shreve (two-plus). Layne is under contract for 2017 with arbitration-eligibility for 2018. His 2017 contract is valued at $1.08M which could lend itself to a player-for-player trade if it could be landed.

Layne’s 2017 numbers aren’t good which could be the reason the Yankees would even consider letting him walk as a player-for-player trade. In 2017, in just 9.2 innings, Layne owns an inflated ERA of 6.52. In his career, however, he has averaged ERAs in the threes and upper twos while pitching in the range of sixteen to a max of 47.2.

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Would the Cardinals be interested in taking the risk on Layne believing that change in venue could spell his return to ERAs in the neighborhood of the threes? Would the Yankees actually hold interest in Matt Adams who could likely be relegated to a pinch-hit/DH position when Bird returns? And don’t they Yankees already own a former Cardinal in the pinch-hit/DH position in Matt Holliday?

There are clearly a great number of questions in this supposition but it sure is fun to consider. Let me be clear that I have not heard any kind of rumblings that this is even being considered other than our discussion on the podcast last night.

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Should the St. Louis Cardinals convince the Yankees that they need Adams and receive from them in exchange one of these two left-handed pen pitchers, then I think Mozeliak would be foolish to not pull this trigger. The real question is whether the Yankees should come calling or if Mo should be the one to pick up the phone and dial.