With the free agency frenzy underway, the Cardinals should enter the sweepstakes for former Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo.
Now that the MLB lockout is over, free agency is in full swing and the St. Louis Cardinals kicked it all off with the signing of Drew VerHagen. The Cardinals have other needs though, including bringing in a veteran option for the new universal DH slot. While there are a variety of options on the market, former Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo would be an excellent addition to the St. Louis lineup.
While the thought of adding a core member of the 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series team may seem crazy to some fans, Rizzo’s fit in the Cardinal lineup is seamless. In 2021, Rizzo slashed .248/.344/.440 with 22 home runs, 23 doubles, and 61 RBIs for the Cubs and Yankees. While his numbers have dropped off since 2019, Rizzo remains a high level left handed bat, something the Cardinals do not currently have.
Rizzo brings a lot of lineup flexibility as well. Rizzo is comfortable hitting anywhere from the middle of the order to even being a leadoff hitter, which would give first year manager Oli Marmol different options day to day. One day the lineup could go Rizzo/Goldy/O’Neill/Arenado, and the next, Rizzo could provide protection behind Arenado.
Last season, the St. Louis lineup ranked middle of the pack in most offensive categories. If the lineup is able to be anything close to what it was in September, those numbers will rise, but the team is still missing one more bat to make it the top tier offense that St. Louis has the potential for. Nolan Gorman and/or Juan Yepez could be the missing links, but that is a lot of pressure to put on two first year players.
This scenario becomes more and more real if the market for Rizzo does not go beyond one-year contracts. While another former Cub in Kyle Schwarber would be great for the lineup, he would draw a multi-year contract, blocking the path of top Cardinals prospects. If the Cardinals are able to sign Rizzo to a deal in the one-year, $15 million dollar range, he would become an excellent stop gap for the young guys on the way up (Gorman, Yepez, Walker) as well as the much needed left-handed power bat that the club needs.