The St. Louis Cardinals are rumored to be shopping MLB outfield names in an effort to focus on the outfield of the future and this is a good thing.
The St. Louis Cardinals started the purge of their 2018 season (and the hangovers from the previous Mike Matheny years) on Friday when they sent people packing. The likes of Greg Holland, Tyler Lyons, and Sam Tuivailala were sent elsewhere. Reports exist that the Cardinals aren’t finished with changes.
Former-GM John Mozeliak has stated that he is not looking at picking up talent for the 2018 season and is rather interested in 2019 and beyond. It would seem that the outfield would be a great place to focus these efforts. The outfield of the future has plenty of names waiting in the wings and the time is now to get them up.
Let’s take a look at some of the rumored names going in all directions.
No, not Carlos Martinez (although I would trade him for the right deal, but not for anything else). We are instead talking about the often-kicked-around Jose Martinez. The time has come for the good-bat/bad-fielding Martinez to find a home in the AL. Period.
With the injury to Aaron Judge, the Yankees seem a really good fit, especially in light of them losing out on the Mike Moustakas hunt (if they were actually ever in it to begin). Martinez could fill their need both in the OF- if they dare- and as a DH. This would mean that JMart could remain serviceable for them once Judge returns in approximately three weeks.
As to what the St. Louis Cardinals would want in return, very little is needed at this point honestly. I would recommend a single prospect such that the money is cleared and a 40-man roster spot is vacated as well.
Tommy Pham is one of my favorite players currently on the St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, he is ranked number-two in my book behind JMart. That said, he is holding an outfield spot that could be cleared for up-and-coming talent to fill.
In this thinking, Pham is really the blocking point keeping Harrison Bader out of the lineup. Yes, people will point to Dexter Fowler as the logjam keeping Bader out of the lineup and while this is partially true, if Pham were gone then Bader would instantly slide into the position.
Having said that, Pham is also blocking the outstanding Oscar Mercado from advancing out of Memphis. If you don’t know Mercado, you need to get to know him. He is a natural center fielder, has speed, and reminds me often of Willie McGee. It would be wonderful to get him to the Cardinals to work with McGee while McGee is still on the bench with the club.
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Dexter is the one name in the outfield who should go but likely will not be going anywhere anytime soon. His contract is just too prohibitive to finding him a real new home. Regardless, Fowler just doesn’t seem to fit with the St. Louis Cardinals.
If the Cardinals could ship Fowler to another pasture, especially if Fowler could depart in conjunction with or as a separate part of one of the names above, then two spots would open and the future of the St. Louis Cardinals could claim the start of their service time. An outfield of Marcell Ozuna, Mercado, and Bader would stop nearly anything that flew to the outfield.
As to their bats, Bader and Mercado have done well enough when receiving regular playing time. Bader is better-proven than Mercado at the MLB level but if the St. Louis Cardinals are truly focused on 2019 and beyond then these two names should be in the discussions of that focus.
All-in, the St. Louis Cardinals should honestly start dumping extra weight and start focusing on members of the future. Fans would not feel bad about finishing in last place if this were the case. We know that organizational changes are likely coming in the offseason so don’t feign as though you intend to compete for a wild card spot. Instead, introduce the future.
Would you be good with these subtractions and additions? Thanks for reading!