St. Louis Cardinals: Cardinals interested in Josh Donaldson

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 25: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a two-run double in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 25, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 25: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a two-run double in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 25, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Early this morning, Rotoworld reported the St. Louis Cardinals have interest in the Toronto Blue Jays’ third baseman, Josh Donaldson.

According to recent reports, the St. Louis Cardinals are showing interest in Blue Jay’s third baseman, Josh Donaldson. While not breaking news by any means, it certainly does stir up the news talk going into Wednesday morning.

Here at Redbird Rants, we have discussed Donaldson in our podcast episodes and in articles. I discussed Donaldson as a potential trade target for the St. Louis Cardinals about two months ago, so not exactly breaking news. However, while it is not breaking news, it still raises some serious questions at what the Cardinals may do at the deadline.

Before I get to those questions, lets take a look at how Donaldson’s season is going, including game logs.

On the surface, Donaldson is having a sub-par season compared to his last couple of years, including his MVP season in 2015. His batting average, OBP, slugging, and OPS are all down from where we know they can be. Does that mean he is already on track for regression? I don’t believe so. Injury has hampered his production this year. Perhaps the injury is still affecting him at the plate.

We all know he is capable of putting together MVP numbers, so to expect a regression this soon might be reaching. At one point, the Blue Jays looked to climb out of the bottom of the AL East. However, as of today, they currently sit in last place in their division, 10.5 games back. The Blue Jays are likely not headed for the post season this year, so it would make sense for them to sell.

Why are the St. Louis Cardinals interested? If you have listened to our podcasts, or just been around any baseball talk surrounding the Cardinals, one of the first things people will point to is the lack of a true three or four hitter in the lineup. Here at Redbird Rants, we have beaten the drum on this many a times, and continue to do so.

Related Story: Donaldson improves Cardinals

At this point the Cardinals have used many players in the three hole. At first Matt Carpenter was there, until he rediscovered his swing at lead-off (shockingly…). Now, it is Stephen Piscotty. While he could be capable at the three hole, he just has not shown enough to this point. The three hole is a glaring problem for the team, and addressing it at some point has to happen.

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The other reason, but now seemingly meaningless, would have been the Cardinals problem at third base.  The St. Louis Cardinals entered the season with Jhonny Peralta and Jedd Gyorko at the hot corner.

Fast forward a couple of months, Peralta is no longer with the team and Gyorko has filled in quite nicely at third for the Cardinals.

Sure, Gyorko has slowed down a bit, and scratched from yesterday’s game with leg cramps, but he has filled the position better than expected.

Knowing all of that, this news raises some serious questions.

  1. Why interest now? As I just mentioned, Jedd Gyoko has performed admirably at third base so far this season. He has provided good defense and solid production at the plate. The need for a third baseman surely wouldn’t make any sense at this point, right? The only concern would be if Gyorko’s injury is worse than a leg cramp.
  2. If the St. Louis Cardinals acquire Donaldson, what happens to Gyorko? The immediate thought would, and should, be his bat is too valuable to lose from the lineup. However, where does he go in the infield? His natural position is second base, but that is currently occupied by a resurgent Kolten Wong. He doesn’t have the range for SS. The only other place is first base, occupied by Matt Carpenter and Luke Voit.
  3. Speaking of Kolten Wong, what happens to him? If Gyorko’s bat is needed in the lineup, and the only logical place him is second, something has to give. Unfortunately, there could be a scenario where Wong heads to Toronto in a deal for Donaldson. Perhaps that is why Carpenter has taken ground balls at second base. If Wong is traded, it’s possible Gyorko could slide to first instead of second to keep Carpenter’s bat in the lineup.
  4. Is a move for Donaldson even worth it? His current contract runs through this season with a year of arbitration still left to go. The Cardinals would more than likely look to sign an extension for three to four years, but at what price. Not only are you giving up prospects, but the money that comes along with Donaldson to sign him could be steep. Given how the St. Louis Cardinals operate, a big move like this would be surprising to say the least.

Can we expect the Cardinals to make a move for Donaldson? It’s anyone’s guess, but John Mozeliak and new GM, Mike Girsch, said July would be a big month. Matt Carpenter’s action at second base seems a little more fishy than anticipated, but I don’t think it will pan out to anything.

Next: Moving on from the first half of the season

If the Cardinals do indeed trade for Donaldson, it would most likely receive a positive reception. The team and fans have longed for a true dangerous threat at either the three hole or four hole. Donaldson would fit that bill very nicely. What do you think?