Even with Trevor Story and Carlos Correa unsigned, the St. Louis Cardinals remain unlikely to sign an elite shortstop.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I was wrong.
I thought the St. Louis Cardinals would go all-in this offseason to maximize the chances of winning another World Series before Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina retire. That meant not just adding a starting pitcher, but adding one of the high-priced free-agent shortstop.
Of course, it’s still possible that the Cardinals sign one. Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are among the shortstops left unsigned. But it became clear early in the offseason that a shortstop upgrade wasn’t in the cards, with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak saying that it wasn’t a priority. That remains the case headed into the lockout, according to Katie Woo of The Athletic.
The Cardinals are comfortable heading into the 2022 season with Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa as their shortstops. That’s a risk, of course, because DeJong averaged less than .200 last season (to be fair, he’s hit at least 19 home runs in each of his last four full seasons) and it’s unclear whether Sosa’s strong performance was an anomaly or a sign of things to come.
Having that big of a wild card in what is arguably the Cardinals’ most important season in years is a gamble by Mozeliak. It could blow up in their face and everyone surrounding the team – media, fans, rivals – will ask questions why they didn’t pursue Story or any other of the top shortstops.
It all comes down to price. It always does. There is a chance that Story remains on the market long enough that he settles for a one-year contract. Maybe then the Cardinals reconsider and enter the Story sweepstakes. They offer a lot of appeal: a chance to win, Molina and Wainwright’s final seasons, a chance to reunite with Nolan Arenado.
Do not get your hopes up on that being the case, however, since it seems like the Cardinals are likely to enter the season with DeJong and Sosa at shortstop. Mozeliak’s comments to begin the offseason were pretty clear and the latest update from Woo suggests that they have not changed their minds.