Cardinals Rumors: D.J. LeMahieu would be strong fit in St. Louis
The St. Louis Cardinals are interested in D.J. LeMahieu, which could mean a few different things. But do they have more money to spend than once thought?
The St. Louis Cardinals have expressed interest in free-agent second baseman D.J. LeMahieu, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, who adds that the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox are among the teams to express interest.
The expectation has always been that LeMahieu would return to the Yankees. But after talks have been slow to progress and the team dragging its feet in negotiations, LeMahieu instructed his agents to begin negotiating with other clubs and to “reconnect with other teams that reached out early in free agency.”
That list includes the Cardinals, and my first reaction: Huh? LeMahieu, of course, is supremely talented and one of the best two-way players in baseball. He would make any lineup better and would improve the team’s defense at second base even after parting ways with Kolten Wong earlier this winter.
Which is where the Cardinals’ interest is relatively surprising. They declined Wong’s $12.5 million club option as part of a cost cutting move as they deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. And LeMahieu is widely expected to land a deal north of four years, $100 million.
Perhaps the Cardinals could make such a move and cut costs at other positions, potentially at catcher by replacing Yadier Molina with, say, Jason Castro. Maybe they replace Adam Wainwright with a more cost-effective pitcher. Maybe they want to sign LeMahieu and keep their two longtime franchise icons and take advantage of a division that is showing little sense of urgency to compete in 2021.
This is one to watch, and the most likely outcome is that LeMahieu plays elsewhere in 2021. But could the fact that the Cardinals are in on one of the best players in free agency be a sign they have more money to spend than originally thought?