The St. Louis Cardinals twitter community has been buzzing about the potential of signing Bryce Harper. This is largely thanks to BenFred and a tweet from five years ago, but it is intriguing none the less.
Bryce Harper is, by all accounts, a superstar. The St. Louis Cardinals could use that in their everyday lineup. And they certainly have the money to acquire him. That, however, does not mean that they should spend the money on him.
Spare me the argument about his negative personality, because it is ridiculous. Harper has been involved in fights with pitchers that don’t have the best reputations. Some would call that fire. And outside of that, he just wants to have fun playing the game, and I admire that.
To be honest, I am all for throwing everything at Harper under the condition that Marcell Ozuna is dealt. That is the only way that this gluttony of talented outfielders, and Dexter Fowler, will work out.
The Main Road Block
My biggest issue with a Harper deal is that is will block Tyler O’Neill for yet another year. We need to give that talented bat everyday swings in the majors for him to adjust. I get it, he struck out a lot. But lets not allow a 142 plate appearance sample size to predict his whole career. I’m not saying he will turn into a major contact hitter, but his consistent 20 percent strikeout rate over a lot more minor league at bats does mean he won’t be striking out 40 percent of the time forever.
We saw first hand the kind of mammoth homers that O’Neill is capable of, and he did it when it mattered at the end of a game. He needs to get consistent starts in order to become what many experts think he can. Eno Sarris of The Athletic even wrote about his skill set.
It is hard to imagine Harrison Bader will be leaving the team, nor would I want him to. He proved to be the heart and soul of the squad this year. And a second spot would be taken by Harper. So that leaves Ozuna filling the third, and O’Neill once again biding his time.
Problems Trading Ozuna
Yes, I am aware how odd this would be only a year after sending a group of talented prospects to Miami. He is eligible to be a free agent at seasons end. Do you really see him being extended after this year if he stays on the St. Louis Cardinals roster? I do not.
There shouldn’t be a shortage of teams who would take a chance on him. I am a fan of Ozuna, but he just seems to be the most likely player to be moved to make room for what could be the next superstar in O’Neill.
It is not a matter of money, or how he would look in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. Heck, it is not even about if the would be welcomed by the great fans. It is about spacing and not blocking a guy who showed a ton of promise in his short time on the team.
I would love a Harper signing. He would add so much to the team. But I am more against blocking O’Neill, who could be the next great St. Louis Cardinals player.