St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals need hitters more than starters
The St. Louis Cardinals will likely be buyers at the upcoming Trade Deadline, which part of the buffet should they choose from? Hitters or pitchers?
Though the St. Louis Cardinals have been quite the disappointment this year, they are very luckily still in the heat of the playoff race. They are currently three games back in the NL Central race and also only one game back in the NL Wild Card race. If they do want a shot at the playoffs, they are going to need to beef up their roster quite a bit.
There have been many fans howling at the Cardinals to go after a rotation arm during the trade deadline, and the main two have been Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman and San Francisco Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner.
These two do fit in reasonably well with St. Louis, Marcus Stroman is known for being a heavy groundball pitcher, and with the middle infield defense of Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong, as well as a Gold Glover at first base in Paul Goldschmidt, it’s not hard to see why. With Bumgarner, the Cardinals could use a left-handed pitcher in the rotation, especially against lefty-heavy lineups such as the Milwaukee Brewers, who are in the thick of the NL Central race as well.
Sure, getting a starter will help the team, but it isn’t the biggest need for St. Louis. Their rotation has been pretty solid, led by Dakota Hudson and a resurgence from Adam Wainwright. They also now have Daniel Ponce de Leon in the rotation, and he has done a very solid job as a starter, posting a 1.25 ERA to go with a 0.78 WHIP in that role.
The Cardinals offense has been the main thing that has been bringing them down so far this season, they only have one hitter who has an OPS above .800 and that is Marcell Ozuna, who is currently obviously on the Injured List for the time being. The team has been shut out time and time again, and the time for the regular guys to get hot is quickly starting to fade. It’s time to bring in outside guys who have proven that they can hit all season.
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There will be plenty of options on the trade market, and there are even some options from teams the Cardinals have dealt with before, which can be a help when trying to complete a deal. Something that stands out though is the lead-off guy. The Cardinals have had terrible luck trying to find someone to lead off for St. Louis.
Matt Carpenter has done an abysmal job in the leadoff role, hitting below the Mendoza Line and just being unable to get on base. Mike Shildt has tried other options at the leadoff role such as Dexter Fowler, Tommy Edman, Harrison Bader, and Yairo Munoz. None of those guys could help, and the Cardinals still have the second to worst OPS from the leadoff spot, barely ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. The main priority is to find a leadoff guy who can get on base so the guys who are protecting him can advance him and bring him home.
The Cardinals could potentially target Eric Sogard from the Toronto Blue Jays. Sogard is having a career-high season in many categories, after being DFA’d by the Milwaukee Brewers last year, the Jays took a fly on him and he has been quite the player for them. He is currently hitting .296 with a very solid .840 OPS.
His OBP is at a .365 right now, and not only would that be a team-high for St. Louis, but it would also be perfect for the leadoff role. Sogard is mainly a second baseman, but he can also play shortstop, and third baseman. With Matt Carpenter struggling and Kolten Wong being needed for his exquisite defense, Sogard could take over at third base for the duration of the season if St. Louis trades for him.
Another third baseman the Cardinals could trade for is Eduardo Escobar from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last offseason, the Cardinals and Diamondbacks did business with one another in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. If the Diamondbacks decide to throw in the towel and sell at the deadline, Eduardo Escobar could be a name that they dangle to acquire some more young talent.
Escobar has been quietly putting up a very solid season for Arizona, slashing a .295/.351/.896 line with 19 home runs and 68 RBIs. He also has a 3.0 WAR, which is good for third out of all of the third baseman in the National League, so yeah, he’s pretty good. He will end up costing more than Sogard, mainly because he has three more years to his contract, and it is rather team-friendly as he is making only $7m a year.
In a past article, we talked about how the Cardinals could land Trey Mancini from the Baltimore Orioles. Once again, the Orioles are in the pit of the baseball world, and their fire sale of anything left has already begun, as they recently traded starter Andrew Cashner away to the Boston Red Sox.
They are going to keep selling for young talent, and Mancini is arguably the best hitter available on the market. He has been a bright spot for a terrible Orioles team, hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs. He has done a solid job throughout his career, but he has broken out onto the scene in 2019.
Mancini should have made his first All-Star Game appearance, but he was robbed, in my opinion. He has been the backbone for a putrid Orioles offense that has ranked last in many categories. Baltimore will likely deal him as they continue to tank for the second consecutive first overall pick, and the Cardinals should definitely make a push for the 27-year-old slugger.
Let’s be real here, this abysmal Cardinals offense has cost this team way too many games. The time for them to come around and heat up is quickly closing, and something needs to be done. If the Cardinals want to end their playoff drought, they need to make a move to improve the offense, or they will be in danger of missing the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.