The St. Louis Cardinals most underrated offseason need is not on the pitching staff. It’s the infield depth behind Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.
We have written extensively about how the St. Louis Cardinals need pitching, specifically in the bullpen and even in the rotation despite signing Steven Matz to a four-year, $44 million deal.
But an underrated need for the Cardinals is infield depth. They are set with starters – Nolan Arenado at third base, Tommy Edman at second base, Paul Goldschmidt at first base and Paul DeJong at shortstop – but could use depth behind them.
One name that the Cardinals were linked to early on in free agency was Colin Moran, a free-agent infielder from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Moran, 29, should come cheap on a one-year contract, but would give the Cardinals an upgrade on the bench, as he hit .258/.334/.390 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI in 359 plate appearances.
Not only would Moran be solid depth, it would give the Cardinals another established option at the designated hitter spot. Considering their current options are Juan Yepez, Lars Nootbaar and Nolan Gorman, who all are young and relatively inexperienced, adding Moran would give them a veteran presence at the position.
It also wouldn’t close the door on further upgrades at the trade deadline, which would be appealing to president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. It also wouldn’t block Yepez, Nootbaar or Gorman in the short- and long-term picture and since that’s a primary focus of the coaching staff and front office, adds to the appeal of Moran or anyone along those lines in free agency.
Additionally, it would allow the front office to focus most of its available resources on the pitching staff, which remains the primary goal of the offseason. Moran makes so much sense for the Cardinals, which is why it wouldn’t be surprising to see him end up in St. Louis once the lockout is over.
And it would fill what is perhaps their most underrated need.