St. Louis Cardinals: Team is taking a risk betting on this outfield

The St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason got off to a slow start, but the offseason was considered a resounding win. They acquired Nolan Arenado and re-signed Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina while only losing Kolten Wong.

There have been some concerns about the rotation and whether it has enough depth. But a large part of the Cardinals’ offseason, besides acquiring Arenado, was reaffirming their belief in their young outfielders. And there is some risk in that, as outlined by MLB Trade Rumors.

“The Cardinals are still putting a lot of faith in that young outfield mix, as they didn’t add any proven veteran names to the depth chart.  Apart from Harrison Bader‘s big numbers against left-handed pitching, there wasn’t much offense to be found in the St. Louis outfield in 2020, but with some extenuating circumstances — star prospect Dylan Carlson was in his first MLB season, and Lane Thomas had a rough time recovering from COVID-19.”

The Cardinals believe Carlson is ready to take the next step and fulfill his status as the organization’s top prospect. His numbers last season, at least initially, were reflective of dealing with COVID-19 and not being 100 percent. But now that he is fully recovered, he should be the best option among Bader, Thomas and Tyler O’Neill.

The wild card is Thomas, who has performed very well at spring training. He could fight for playing time if it continues and some within the organization are increasingly optimistic about his outlook despite Thomas not being a household name.

If one of these players struggles, the Cardinals could look to improve at the deadline. There are questions on how much money they have available to spend, but if the team is in contention, it would behoove ownership to open up the payroll and allow the front office with the resources to seriously pursue a World Series run