St. Louis Cardinals: Tough trade targets in the NL Central
Pittsburgh Pirates: Gregory Polanco
If there is one player that I could see as a great guy to try and swap for Carlos Martinez, it is Gregory Polanco. Like Martinez, Polanco’s career has never been exactly what experts thought it would be.
With an almost impressive -1.2 bWAR in 2020, Polanco was just plain bad and has been for the past two seasons. Like Martinez, Polanco has a guaranteed contract for 2021 and then two team option years after. Where Martinez’s salary goes from $11.7M in 2021 to $17M then $18M, Polanco’s starts at $11.6M and goes to $12.5M and $13.5M in the next two years.
Both Martinez and Polanco have seven years under their belt and for as tumultuous as Martinez’s last three years have been, Polanco’s have been worse. In the past three seasons, Polanco has generated just 0.3 bWAR while Martinez has generated 1.4. I am not saying a 1-1 swap would work, but both players seem like change of scenery candidates and there is still hope that both players could reach their high expectations again.
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In his best season, Polanco had a .254/.340/.499 slash line with 23 homers and 81 RBI. Martinez’s best season saw him throwing nearly 200 innings with a 3.04 ERA. Both players have shown signs of that elusive ceiling.
The Cardinals need more power and risking Carlos Martinez to potentially get some more power in the outfield seems worth it.
Dreaming up trades like these are always a fun exercise. I am not sure why trades within the division have been so scarce for the St. Louis Cardinals recently, but there are targets worth going after in the division.
The Cardinals cannot come into the 2020 season with the same team that they had in 2020. They know it, we know it. Even with a self-imposed need to cut back salary, trades can be made without hurting that pursuit.