St. Louis Cardinals: Could Mitch Haniger be a target?
A recent article said that the St. Louis Cardinals should go after Mitch Haniger of the Mariners. Would he be a realistic trade target?
With Marcell Ozuna’s days as a St. Louis Cardinals player more or less over, there is a hole in left field at the moment. That hole could very well be filled by any of the outfielders that the team currently employs, but it could also represent a place for the team to upgrade.
Bleacher Report is doing its due diligence on predicting the trades of the coming offseason and in this recent article, they predicted that Mitch Haniger would get traded to the Cardinals. It really is continuing a seemingly odd national trend where big outlets believe that the Cardinals will make trade waves this winter. Whether it’s that BR article or Jim Bowden predicting a Mookie Betts trade, other people seem to disagree with fans.
Either way, Haniger has the ability to play really any outfield spot so sticking him in left field wouldn’t be an issue. Should he be a target though?
The current 28-year-old is actually just about to turn 29 and won’t be a free agent until 2023. In his career, Haniger has dealt with his fair share of injury as in his four seasons, he has only played above 100 games once.
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In that one season (2018), he was an All-Star and top 15 MVP finisher hitting .285 with a .859 OPS and 26 homers. It was a stellar year that had fans looking forward to 2019, but after a bit of a bad start to the year, Haniger ruptured a testicle (oof) in the beginning of June and didn’t return for the rest of the year.
As of right now, the 2018 season Haniger put would look a lot like an outlier, except he put up very similar numbers in 2017, just over 96 games instead of 157.
Because Haniger is cheap and under contract for a while, he will probably be an expensive acquisition even with the injury history. He’s right in the middle of his prime and should be good to go to start 2020.
The Bleacher Report article suggests that a deal for Haniger would be structured around a package of Randy Arozarena and Genesis Cabrera, which I would be fine to give up.
Losing Arozarena would hurt because his AAA numbers in 2019 suggest he could be an above-average everyday player, but in all cases, prospects don’t win championships and while Haniger has been injured often, he has proven he can be an All-Star at the MLB level and he could be a good top of the order hitter for the Cardinals.
While I wouldn’t put any money on the Cardinals spending money in free agency this winter, I would not be surprised to see them upgrade through trade. If they do, Haniger would be a solid bet for who I would say the team should go after.