St. Louis Cardinals: J.D. Martinez or Josh Donaldson improve the Cards

Jun 13, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) singles in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) singles in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Cardinals must decide to buy or sell at or before the trade deadline. We at Redbird Rants have bounced around a few names to add to the team this season for maximum impact.

If the St. Louis Cardinals become buyers at or before the trade deadline, and I think they should be buyers maybe even before, we at Redbird Rants have tossed out two names who could and would make maximum impact for 2017. These names are J.D. Martinez and Josh Donaldson.

Let’s first take a look at the positions that they would occupy as things currently stand with the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals. Starting first with Martinez who plays in the outfield. If the Cardinals were to add Martinez, this might spell less playing time for Tommy Pham, Jose Martinez, Randal Grichuk, and/or Stephen Piscotty.

Of these Cardinals names, Grichuk is the easiest to replace. Currently sitting in AAA, Grichuk owns a 2017 slash of .222/.276/.377 on a salary of $557,200. Grichuk will become a free agent after the 2017 campaign. This makes him a nice and easy replacement candidate.

The other three outfield names are holding their own well enough. Note that I did not include Dexter Fowler in the mix as there simply is zero percent chance that he is replaced. Piscotty is currently batting .255/.378/.397. Martinez is currently batting .270/.304/.446. Pham is currently batting .289/.394/.465.

We all know that Pham is tearing things up in his attempts to stay in MLB play rather than suffering through a Grichuk optioning. Martinez, like Pham before him, is taking advantage of the opportunity he has. That said, as much as I like how both of these players are doing, I could see either or both of them finding new homes in order to open space for J.D. Martinez.

J.D. Martinez, a nice power addition who is needed on the St. Louis Cardinals, currently owns a slash of .303/.393/.717. Yes, you are reading that correctly, he is slugging .717. Should the Cardinals pick up Martinez, he could slot in the three spot or the four spot and allow Piscotty to relax in a different spot.

Could he be had? Sure thing! J.D. is a free agent in 2018, like Grichuk, and is currently on the Tigers who have made it clear that they are in the selling mood. Martinez earned $11.75MM in 2017 and will likely demand north of that in free agency so the Cardinals would need to pony-up on the cash to get him.

If they could sign him now, however, and pick up the remaining money this season to entice the Tigers, Mozeliak could maybe convince J.D. to sign an extension of three years. By the way, if he were to sign three-year extension with the Cardinals, he would be signed until his 33rd birthday. Worth the money? Absolutely.

Moving to Josh Donaldson, should the St. Louis Cardinals grab this perennial third baseman, it could spell less playing time for Jedd Gyorko. That is unless Gyorko, how has torn the cover off the baseball this season for a slash of .301/.348/.503, moves to second base. If this happens, however, this spells less playing time for Kolten Wong.

I may be alone here but I think Gyorko/Greg Garcia/Paul DeJong at second base pleases me more than Wong at second. I would not mind seeing the St. Louis Cardinals shop Wong. To his credit, Wong owns a slash of .298/.392/.437. These numbers could build a really nice amount of interest from other teams for Wong.

Donaldson, despite some injury time this season (and other seasons before), owns a 2017 slash of .326/.420/.674. Yes, you are reading that correctly too: Donaldson is slugging .674 on a team that is struggling to find wins.

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If you thought the Cardinals would need to open their bank for Martinez, prepare for what it will take to get Donaldson who is making $17MM in 2017 and is a free agent in 2018. The scenario then is similar to the Martinez scenario above: offer the Blue Jays to pick up his salary this season and immediately work for a three-year extension with Donaldson.

If the St. Louis Cardinals were to grab Donaldson and secure a three-year extension, he would play with the birds on the bat until his 34th birthday. Can he be had? I think he can but I also think the Cards would need to send Toronto some strong prospects.

I didn’t touch on the prospects issue with the J.D. Martinez trade topic but I believe that both of these names will take the St. Louis Cardinals sending either the Tigers or the Blue Jays names such as Harrison Bader, Luke Weaver, DeJong, Magneuris Sierra, etc. Are these names acceptable to send in order to get Martinez or Donaldson? To me, yes.

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These are just two big-dollar options laying out there on sinking teams that the St. Louis Cardinals would be wise to examine. Having a strong farm system means that the Cards could and should become buyers. An addition of one of these names likely buoys the Cardinals to the top of the NL-Central.