Could the St. Louis Cardinals trade Harrison Bader?
Could the St. Louis Cardinals trade Harrison Bader? After signing Corey Dickerson, they now have the depth to pull of a deal.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ signing of Corey Dickerson raised an eyebrow for me. They have three starters – Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson and Harrison Bader – as well as Lars Nootbaar, who they are insistent on getting consistent at-bats this season.
And yet they added Dickerson to a $5 million contract which suggests that he will get at-bats, and a lot of them. So did one of their outfielders just become expendable?
They’re not going to trade O’Neill. We can rule that out. They believe Carlson is going to ascend in his second full season in the majors and have him signed cheap for the long-term, so that isn’t happening. The only logical trade option is Bader and, quite honestly, it makes sense.
Bader, 27, is coming off the best season of his career, where he hit .267/.324/.461 with 16 home runs and 50 and won his first career Gold Glove. But he was on the injured list twice and played in only 103 games. He is also soon to be due for a contract extension and if the Cardinals do not want to pay that, and want to consider selling high on him on the trade market, they now have the depth available to pull the trigger on a deal.
Bader could be used as part of a package to acquire one of the Oakland A’s starters Frankie Montas or Sean Manaea, who the Cardinals are said to be interested in. He could be used as a trade chip for any starting pitcher on the market, really, and as a cheap asset with extensive major-league experience, it’s a valuable asset in the hands of president of baseball operations John Mozeliak.
The odds of Bader being traded, however, appear slim. There is a belief that the Cardinals will hold onto him and have him patrolling center field on Opening Day and throughout the 2022 season. But if the right offer comes around, and can net them a starting pitcher, the Cardinals now have the depth to pull the trigger on the deal.
It gives Mozeliak and the Cardinals front office options, and that’s exactly how they prefer it.