St. Louis Cardinals: Possible trade value of Matt Carpenter

jwolfe
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 14: Matt Carpenter #13 and Tommy Pham #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds the bases after Pham hit a two-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the fifth inning at Busch Stadium on September 14, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 14: Matt Carpenter #13 and Tommy Pham #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds the bases after Pham hit a two-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the fifth inning at Busch Stadium on September 14, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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St. Louis Cardinals lead-off man, Matt Carpenter, may be the perfect piece to trade to get an above-average middle of the order bat this offseason.

I’ve got a plan for the St. Louis Cardinals and it may be a little out of the ordinary.

First-baseman/Utility-man Matt Carpenter has had great success in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform over the past five full seasons, seven overall. We have seen him develop into one of the most prominent lead-off hitters in the game right before our eyes.

Exactly the reason we need to trade him.

Here are his past 5 seasons statistics:

Year          Games    Runs    HR      RBI    OBP     SLG     OPS

2013         157         126      11       78      .392    .481    .873

2014         158          99         8        59      .375    .375     .750

2015         154         101       28      84      .365    .505     .871

2016         129          81         21      68     .380     .505     .885

2017         145          91         23      69     .385     .451     .835

The reason I wanted to show the statistics like this is because I want to make a point. Matt Carpenter is a consistently above-average player. Proven to be successful at the Major League level year in and year out. Rarely hurt, as seen by the number of games he has played, and production from the lead-off spot is mouth watering for some teams.

However, he is an aging liability (31 years old) on a team that is going younger (ya hear that, Jason Heyward?)

Although I do not know of particular teams that would be high-quality fits for Matt Carpenter, I think the value of trading him is beneficial. We desperately need a middle-of-the-order hitter, and it is proven he is not the man for the job. He is officially stuck batting lead-off regardless of the mind games he and Mike Matheny want to play in interviews regarding the issue.

You may ask why should we not keep him for ourselves? Here are a couple of decent reasons:

Number 1: We bought Dexter Fowler, former lead-off man, from the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. He could fill that role. Another strong candidate is Kolten Wong who had a breakout 2017 with a high on-base percentage. The flaws of Matt Carpenter hitting middle-of-lineup makes both these options impossible.

Number 2: For how good Matt Carpenter has been hitting, there are a handful of high-quality first basemen we could put there more often to get similar production. In-house suggestions: Jose Martinez and Luke Voit highlight this category, and possibly Jedd Gyorko I will mention later. A notable high value possible free agent pick up is 27-year-old Eric Hosmer.

Number 3: Eric Hosmer, who I briefly mentioned in reason number 2, deserves respect in this paragraph by himself. He is only 27 years old, four years younger than Matt Carpenter. Not to mention the fact that he has played just down I-70 for the Kansas City Royals. Now I do not know anything about his family life, but to

Now I do not know anything about his family life, but to me it makes logical sense. St. Louis would be a great baseball city for him to sign a long-term contract and not a drastic change. Plus, he has won a World Series, and is coming into his prime, not leaving it.

Number 4: Matt Carpenter may be a great lead-off and on-base player, but let’s be honest, his fielding is not great. He may be a utility player by being able to “play” multiple positions, but in reality, his days playing third and second are long gone as we saw with some of his throws across the diamond.

Number 5: This also opens the door possibly for a big third baseman such as Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado. Both are great middle-of-the-order hitters with long-term proven success.

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Now, I know they play third and not first, but if they come and Matt Carpenter is gone either in the trade or another trade helping another team need, this does a great thing: it allows us to play Jed Gyroko all across the infield like we originally planned. Possibly even fill the void of first base for a decent time if we do not sign Eric Hosmer.

I do not want this to come across as I do not like Matt Carpenter, but it may be time for him to move on. He has had obviously great success for us, but I do not think we need his presence in the lead-off spot as a catalyst for the team anymore, especially with the surge of Kolten Wong and Dexter Fowler.

Carpenter is a liability in the field, and clogging the system with our plethora of young players and others who could fill the role. It is tough to tell if he would be part of the package to get someone say like Josh Donaldson, but what about a reliever, or prospects from a contending team desperate for a first baseman?

Next: Applying lessons learned

Overall, I do not see him being traded as a high probability with the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals, but I think they should consider it. With a market as thin as this free agent class on first basemen, we may be surprised in the value we could receive from Matt Carpenter.

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