The two big free agents, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, have yet to sign. Everyone has played and paused the infamous MLB Twitter video roulette wheel of where Harper is going to sign, but has anyone gone over the options for Machado? Are we all just waiting for the Harper domino to fall first? The St. Louis Cardinals should consider how Machado would be that “impact bat” over Harper.
The free agency frenzy had fizzled slightly over the past week or so. Some trades, both big and minor ones have occurred. The Reds and Dodgers pulled off a block bluster trade that sent Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp and others to Cincinnati. It shook the baseball world for a moment and abruptly caused me to reflect how competitive the NL Central is going to be. Even with how much they may have improved, the St. Louis Cardinals are going to have a lot of competition in 2019.
Where does this put the Cardinals? Do they stand back, look at their cards, and tell themselves, “Hey we traded for arguably the best first baseman in baseball, Paul Goldschmidt, and signed a veteran, reliable lefty reliever Andrew Miller.”? They could do that, or they could look at the talent level in the NL Central and come up with a way they can make one more splash before the 2019 season?
For the past couple of seasons, the team has been searching for an impact bat. Marcell Ozuna was believed to be that guy. However, an injury plagued season with lackluster homer totals, low WAR, and substandard OPS led the front office to search for another impact bat.
The Goldschmidt acquisition was a huge win by John Mozeliak, but for only one year of control and Ozuna arbitration eligible, the Cardinals could be in the same position next offseason looking for another impact bat.
Bryce Harper is controlling the market with free agents looking for the mammoth contract. Nobody knows when he will sign, nor where that will be. Meanwhile, Manny Machado is waiting in his boat, paddling and searching for a new home. It’s been reported he has met with some teams already, but still no deal in place.
The Cardinals have the money to offer Machado a lucrative deal, as they were willing to take on the Giancarlo Stanton monster contract. The club should entertain the thought of offering Machado a 4 year/$120M contract, which would get him to his age 31 season.
If the Cardinals were able to get Machado for those four years, they could build around him and still have that “all in” mentality for the NL Central crown every year.
The team wouldn’t necessarily have to trade Paul DeJong either. He could move to second base, where he has experience in playing that position and platoon him with Kolten Wong. Imagine an infield with Matt Carpenter, Machado, DeJong and Goldschmidt in 2019.
It would be an opposing pitcher’s nightmare.
There is so much uncertainty in the St. Louis Cardinals future after the 2019 season. Where will our Goldschmidt and Ozuna sign? Will the team pick up Carpenter’s team option? Will the team undergo a rebuild after 2019? One thing is for sure, signing Manny Machado will terminate all of those doubts.