St. Louis Cardinals: Five players who could make the Birds a playoff team

jgrose
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 11: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles watches the game in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 11, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 11: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles watches the game in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 11, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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St. Louis Cardinals
KANSAS CITY, MO – JUNE 02: Whit Merrifield #15 of the Kansas City Royals runs past third base during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on June 2, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Cardinals are 36-28 and in third place in the NL Central. Right now, we would be missing the playoffs for the third straight year. Who can we trade for to turn the team into a playoff contender?

The St. Louis Cardinals could fill their offensive need by looking off the radar.

Whit Merrifield

This is my off-the-radar guy but one I think makes a lot of sense for both teams. Merrifield broke out last season, hitting .288 with 19 home runs, 78 RBI, and 34 stolen bases while playing mainly second base. He was also good defensively, finishing tied for the third best DRS mark in 2017.

He’s currently having another good season, hitting .284 with four homers and 14 steals. The best part – he’s not a free agent until 2023.

The Royals suck and their farm system is ranked dead last by most outlets. They need to offload some of their talent and replenish their minor league system. Kolten Wong (it’s time for him to go) plus a couple pitching prospects could land Merrifield.

I don’t think he’s a player who would command Jack Flaherty or Luke Weaver but Austin Gomber or Dakota Hudson could make it happen.

He has a .363 OBP with 14 steals and some pop. He could slide into the lineup at any spot and produce.

Mike Moustakas

Another Kansas City Royal could also make sense for the St. Louis Cardinals. After finishing 2017 with 38 home runs and an .835 OPS, his best season as a pro, he’s having another good year. He has 12 home runs and an .822 OPS.

He’s also much better defensively at third base this season. After posting -8 DRS in 2017, he currently sits at 0 DRS. Basically, he’s not hurting the team there.

Moustakas is also a free agent after the season, but I think the Cardinals would have a much better chance of signing him to a deal. While he may be better suited for the American League and a DH spot down the road, the St. Louis Cardinals could sign him to a deal and move him to first base in a few years.

He definitely has the offensive profile for that spot.

Again, I think Wong has to go in this deal which would shift Carp to second base on a more full-time basis. This still leaves Gyorko without a full-time position, which I don’t necessarily like.

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