Kolten Wong could be the next free-agent infielder to come off the board.
The market for free-agent second baseman Kolten Wong is beginning to heat up and the St. Louis Cardinals remain involved, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who lists the Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies as other teams to check in.
The Cardinals would be wise to sign Wong to a one or two-year deal. Entering the 2021 season with Tommy Edman, or anyone else from a suddenly bare free-agent infield group, would be a risk that the team might not be able to overcome even in a very winnable National League Central.
Wong is one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball and Edman would be a significant downgrade in that department. While Wong is not a strong offensive player, he has established himself as a reliable option for the organization – and someone the Cardinals value a lot internally as a leader on the infield and in the clubhouse.
Of course, not enough to pick up his $12.5 million club option to start this winter. The Cardinals took a calculated gamble by not picking up his option, hoping to sign him back at a cheaper rate. But this offseason has been lucrative for free-agent infielders, especially for Marcus Semien and Andrelton Simmons on Tuesday, meaning that the price range could be in the $9-10 million range for Wong.
Even for a Cardinals organization that is supposedly struggling with finances, it’s a deal that president of baseball operations John Mozeliak should – and needs – to pull the trigger on. Wong has meant too much to the franchise to risk losing him while trying to save a few million dollars.
Losing Wong is a risk the Cardinals can ill afford to take. If he plays elsewhere in 2021, the ramifications from it could be drastic.