St. Louis Cardinals: Blue Jays prioritizing free-agent Kolten Wong
The St. Louis Cardinals took a chance not picking up Kolten Wong’s club option, and it appears his time with the team is all but over.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ decision to move on from Kolten Wong remains the most surprising move of the offseason. His $12.5 million club option was fair for a player of his caliber and appeared to be as much of a sure-thing to be picked up in an offseason filled with uncertainty.
So it is no surprise that Wong has drawn strong interest on the free-agent market, with the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels among the teams pursuing the veteran second baseman. And Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Blue Jays are prepared to make Wong their top priority at second base if DJ LeMahieu re-signs with the New York Yankees, as expected.
The Blue Jays are one of baseballs most aggressive teams this winter and have made it clear they intend to spend. They are actively pursuing George Springer and other top targets in free agency, and are also pursuing other second-tier options in addition to Wong. But they have prioritized up-the-middle defense and Wong, widely regarded as one of baseballs top defensive second basemen, would improve that in a big way.
It is unlikely that Wong lands a deal near his $12.5 million salary with the Cardinals. He has received multi-year interest in free agency and is likely to land such a deal once LeMahieu comes off the board.
For the Cardinals, letting go of Wong appears to be a miscalculation. There is uncertainty at second base with the team unsure of the type of player Tommy Edman is. It is possible that they pursue cheaper upgrades via free agency and trade, of course, but it will prove difficult to find a player of the caliber of Wong at a discounted rate.
Wong does not appear close to signing with any team, but it has become increasingly clear that any chance of re-signing with the Cardinals is all but over, and it appears that the Blue Jays are in the lead to land his services.