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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DENVER, CO – AUGUST 26: Jedd Gyorko #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals singles in the third inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 26, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Players are wearing special jerseys with their nicknames on them during Players’ Weekend. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 26: Jedd Gyorko #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals singles in the third inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 26, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Players are wearing special jerseys with their nicknames on them during Players’ Weekend. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

In a trade that is the most sensible and likely to happen, the St. Louis Cardinals should trade Jedd Gyorko for more bullpen help.

The Jedd Gyorko for Jon Jay swap will go down as one of the most underrated trades that John Mozeliak ever made. The Cardinals sent a fringe player in Jay who didn’t have much value to the Cardinals anymore to San Diego for Gyorko who needed a change of scenery. Over his three years in St. Louis, Gyorko has averaged a .794 OPS and 20 homers a year while being extremely flexible in both position and playing time.

Gyorko has played every infield position as well as some outfield for St. Louis while being the best at third base, averaging 8 DRS a year. Jay, on the other hand, played reasonably well with San Diego for 2016 but then has moved around to Chicago, Kansas City, and Arizona since then.

Between 2016 and now, Jay’s best season was with Chicago where he provided a .749 OPS and while he did win a gold glove this year, Gyorko’s 8.7 WAR with the Cardinals is much better than Jay’s 3.0 WAR over the last three years.

As great as Gyorko has been for this team, it may be time to move on as the Cardinals owe Gyorko $13M in 2019 and have an option for him in 2020. This is a lot to pay a player who doesn’t have a starting position on the team but what makes a trade even more likely is the emergence of Yairo Munoz.

Munoz appeared in 108 games in 2018 as a rookie and when you compare his numbers against Gyorko’s, it’s easy to see the redundancy the Cardinals have in Gyorko. Munoz had a 109 OPS+ compared to Gyorko’s 108, and similar to Gyorko, Munoz played every position on the field except pitcher, catcher, and first base. Munoz had a lot of jitters this year in the field after being known as a solid defender in the minors, this should subside as he moves on from his rookie year.

Given that the Cardinals have both Munoz and Gyorko, it is only logical to move on from the more expensive one. To be able to net a valuable piece for the bullpen, the Cardinals would probably have to attach a prospect to offset Gyorko’s salary, but as a utility infielder with pop, Gyorko would have trade value.

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