St. Louis Cardinals: In a world without Bryce Harper

Mike Girsch, general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals; Bill DeWitt Jr., managing partner and chairman of the St. Louis Cardinals; John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations of the St. Louis Cardinals and Mike Schildt, interim manager of the St. Louis Cardinals addressing a change in the manager during a press conference prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on July 15, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Mike Girsch, general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals; Bill DeWitt Jr., managing partner and chairman of the St. Louis Cardinals; John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations of the St. Louis Cardinals and Mike Schildt, interim manager of the St. Louis Cardinals addressing a change in the manager during a press conference prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on July 15, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Regardless of how many St. Louis Cardinals fans want the team to sign Bryce Harper, it probably isn’t going to happen. After making great moves thus far, where should the team turn to the rest of the offseason to improve?

In the great words of the St. Louis Cardinals GM, John Mozeliak, let’s “pivot.” The team has left the door to jumping in the race for Bryce Harper ever so slightly cracked, but if we are honest, it’s probably not going to happen. The chances were slim to none before the Dodgers traded away two outfielders to possibly clear room, and look even more bleak now.

This offseason, even without Harper, is still one that has greatly improved your St. Louis Cardinals, and they still have more payroll flexibility. Sitting at a current arbitration estimated payroll of $159.8M, they are sitting within $150,000 of where they were last year. Always prudent spenders, it would be unsurprising to see Mozeliak sit on his hands the rest of the way after adding Andrew Miller and Paul Goldschmidt.

Ownership has said that they aim to keep the payroll fairly consistent, which would mean that they most likely won’t make any huge moves. At the same time though, Mo and Girsch have commented that it is time to change their approach to the offseason after missing the playoffs for three years straight. Change was already shown when they jumped the market and grabbed Goldschmidt. How much they will break normal offseason plan form is the question.

However, in a hypothetical world where Mo had a few million dollars just burning a hole in his pocket, there are a lot of ways that he could look at improving the team through free agency or trades. These moves can be minor or major and the only situation I am not going to explore is signing Bryce Harper. Too many articles have been written about it, it’s very well documented what a deal would look like and what the Cardinals would need to do to get him.

With all this in mind, lets take a look at a couple of paths the Cardinals can take from here.

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