Why the St. Louis Cardinals shouldn’t sign Trevor Story: look no further than Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker, the organizations future in the infield.
Early in the offseason, there was a lot of talk about the St. Louis Cardinals being a legitimate player for free-agent shortstop Trevor Story. On the surface, it made a lot of sense. There is a need at shortstop – Paul DeJong is slated to be the Opening Day starter – and signing Story to a multi-year deal could convince his friend and former teammate Nolan Arenado not to opt out of his contract after the 2022 season.
But those rumors were quickly squashed, with Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak saying that shortstop was not a high priority. Story remains a free agent, so perhaps the Cardinals’ thinking changes. But I don’t think it should
On Twitter, a fan named Ryan Shull mentioned that the Cardinals should not sign Story because of Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker and instead prioritize addressing the bullpen. By all indications, his plan is exactly what the Cardinals are planning to do, and it’s the right move.
To be clear, neither Gorman or Walker project as shortstops. Gorman is going to slot at second or third base while there are some scouts who believe Walker may end up at first base. So yes, while it would leave a hole at shortstop, Story may not be at shortstop long-term either. His defense was subpar in 2021 and he could end up playing second or third bases in the latter part of his career, which is either where Arenado and/or Gorman are supposed to be.
That’s not to mention that the organization clearly believes that DeJong will be better in 2022. Maybe that optimism is unwarranted, but they intend to let him start the regular season at shortstop. Signing Story would not only remove DeJong from the starting lineup, but make him a strong trade candidate, and that does not feel like something the organization will be eager to do.
So yes, maybe the Cardinals’ thinking changes if they are able to land Story on a lucrative one-year deal. That way they could play DeJong and others at the designated hitter (if it’s implemented in the NL, as expected) and keep DeJong for 2023 and beyond at shortstop.
But such a scenario feels unlikely, and that may even be optimistic. Let’s just say this: don’t expect Story to end up in St. Louis.