St. Louis Cardinals did not actively pursue shortstop upgrades

Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a home run against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a home run against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals did not actively pursue shortstop upgrades before the lockout, another sign Paul DeJong will be The Guy in 2022.

By now, you’re aware that the St. Louis Cardinals have signaled that they are comfortable with Paul DeJong as their Opening Day shortstop. Some of you have interpreted that as a smokescreen while others have expressed disappointment in their stance.

But the Cardinals’ actions matched their words, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that the team “was not active in discussions with any player in this marquee class of free-agent shortstops” before the lockout.

That meant no Corey Seager, who signed a $325 million deal with the Texas Rangers. It meant no Marcus Semien, who signed a $175 million deal with the Rangers. It meant no Javier Baez, who signed a $160 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. It means, barring a change in thinking during the lockout, no Carlos Correa or Trevor Story.

Correa, of course, was never a realistic option. He is seeking $330-350 million and that was never in their price range. Story, however, was different. His market is relatively unknown and there is a belief he might have to settle for a one-year deal. Could that entice the Cardinals?

Maybe. After all, it could be the difference in keeping Nolan Arenado long-term, who is a candidate to opt out of his contract after the 2022 season. But with the Cardinals praising DeJong both publicly and privately, even pursuing Story on a short-term pact is no guarantee.

The Cardinals are cognizant of not blocking Nolan Gorman or Juan Yepez from consistent major-league at-bats, which makes sense. But not signing Story or any other elite shortstop and sticking with DeJong, an under .200 hitter, is a risk that team president of baseball operations John Mozeliak is evidently comfortable taking.

Next. The St. Louis Cardinals may have just signed the next Javier Baez. dark

Perhaps it backfires on him. It’s up to DeJong to prove him right.