The St. Louis Cardinals have been rumored and connected to the name of a certain Kansas City first baseman who is a free agent. I am getting on the bandwagon and want the Cardinals to sign him.
The St. Louis Cardinals are perhaps the future home of the first baseman slugger from the Kansas City Royals, Eric Hosmer. When word first released of this rumor, I was nonplussed by the idea. As I think more about it, and as I read more about it, and as I research the slugger, I am now boarding the wagon and want the front office to make this a done deal.
Why would the St. Louis Cardinals take interest in Hosmer? Why not? Opponents to Hosmer have pointed to his simply playing first base and how this might displace Matt Carpenter. I get it that Carpenter is one of the best players on the St. Louis Cardinals (albeit he often doesn’t live up to his promise). But, but wouldn’t the team be better served if Carpenter was the team’s super utility player in 2018?
Opponents also point to the fact that both Hosmer and Carpenter are left-handed and this would prohibit a platoon at first base. Not so. Jedd Gyorko, who the St. Louis Cardinals are likely holding until the trade deadline, would be a right-handed option at first if needed. The Cardinals also have Jose Martinez as a right-handed option (he may also carry the same fate as Gyorko come July 31, 2018).
Let’s dig into the numbers. We’ve done this plenty of times before here at Redbird Rants, but allow me to elicit a few numbers that helped me climb on the bandwagon.
Carpenter will enter the 2018 season at the ripe age of 32 with two years of control remaining on his contract. Hosmer will enter the 2018 season some four years younger at 28. Hosmer is the free agent so his control is yet to be determined. MLBTR predicts that Hosmer will snag a six-year deal which will take him to the ripe age of 34 which might fare better in the AL with DH (unless the DH comes to the NL).
Financially speaking, the Cardinals are on the hook for $13.75M in 2018 and $14.75M in 2019 with a 2020 team option worth $18.5M (or a $2M buyout) all for Matt Carpenter. MLBTR predicts that Hosmer will get the 6-year deal and that it will be worth $132MM ($22M AAV). Will Hosmer cost a good deal? Yes, but the Cardinals have the money.
The finances heavily point to the trade deadline selling of Gyorko since the Cardinals would be on the hook for $35.75M in 2018 if they indeed pick up Hosmer for the predicted amount. The market, however, with its slow crawl may help the Cardinals land Hosmer for less.
All that said, I’m little worried about financials and more impressed with performance. In 2017, Carpenter smashed 31 doubles, two triples, and 23 home runs. As much I might have begrudged Carpenter in 2017, I’m not interested in losing his 23 home runs nor his .835 OPS from the lineup.
In 2017, Hosmer smashed 31 doubles, one triple, and 25 home runs. I’d love to be able to say that the front office added a four-year-younger version of Carpenter to the lineup while also adding his .882 OPS. Just imagine that… I’ll get to it, bear with me.
In terms of predictions, Carpenter is said to see 568 plate appearances and to post a slash of .255/.368/.475 with 86% reliability according to Baseball Reference. Hosmer is predicted to see 602 plate appearances and to post a slash of .290/.357/.468 with 87% reliability. Again, the similarities abound.
So, to the potential lineup with Hosmer… This is where I was immediately sold and want the front office to get busy on the phone. Just imagine this lineup (slash lines shown are predictions from BBREF):
Matt Carpenter (2B or 3B) – .255/.368/.475 – 22 HR
Tommy Pham (CF) – .278/.373/.486 – 20 HR
Marcell Ozuna (LF) – .283/.344/.486 – 26 HR
Eric Hosmer (1B) – .290/.357/.468 – 22 HR
Paul DeJong (SS) – .280/.332/.514 – 22 HR
Dexter Fowler (RF) – .260/.361/.445 – 15 HR
Jedd Gyorko (3B or 2B) – .255/.320/.457 – 23 HR
Yadier Molina (C) – .275/.323/.409 – 12 HR
And just think that the Cardinals would have the following players on the bench who could be subbed in for Carpenter or Gyorko or even Hosmer in the lineup above. These players will allow Mike Shildt (or Mike Matheny) to be creative with the lineup above as needed.
Kolten Wong (2B) – .265/.343/.399 – 8 HR
Jose Martinez (OF or 1B) – .289/.360/.479 – 14 HR
Randal Grichuk (OF) – .250/.303/.491 – 23 HR
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- St. Louis Cardinals: Alejandro Kirk or Danny Jansen?
Would this be a nice problem to have, having these three names on the bench? And just think of how things could change come the trade deadline once a few of these are eliminated in a trade. To that point, I think the lineup above would be a great place to start for 2018 and then make decisions as things become clearer into the season.
I believe the lineup above (not sold on the actual order) is enough to strike fear in any opposing pitching squad– including the weak(er) rotation of the Chicago Cubs. Mark the history books now, I am predicting that the lineup above, with the names included above, would shove the Cubs out of the presumed winners of the NL-Central (as the media has crowned them in the past) and would install our Cardinals in that slot.
The St. Louis Cardinals have the money and need to make a bold move. I believe- now- that Hosmer is that move. This would still leave them space to either trade or grab a closer as well. The time is now, 2018 must be the Cardinals’ year.