Jesse Winker dominates right-handed pitching
The two-years prior being traded to the Mariners, Winker had the third best wRC+ against right-handed pitching in all of baseball, just behind Juan Soto and Bryce Harper. During that stretch, he slashes .321/.417/.619 against right-handers, while struggling against left-handed pitching. The Cardinals have had very little trouble hitting left-handed pitching over the last few years, but have lacked lineup depth against right-handers.
Winker is also elite at getting on base. His career OBP is .374, and even in a down year, maintained a .344 OBP, which would have been 5th on the Cardinals roster last season. If the Cardinals were to acquire Winker, they can use him in the five spot to provide more power behind Goldschmidt and Arenado, and either platoon him when their is a lefty on the mound or take the high OBP that he still puts up. Dylan Carlson would make an interesting platoon option with Winker, as Carlson has mashed left-handed pitching but has similar struggles against left-handers.
Taking a look at Winker’s Baseball Savant page, the 29-year old was way down in areas like average exit velocity, and barrel percentage, but still maintained an elite chase rate, walk percentage, and xwOBA. The signs are definitely still there that Winker can be a very productive hitter, and even get back to his elite numbers against right-handed pitching.
Some may point to leaving Great America Ballpark as the reason for Winker’s decline, but it would be a stretch to say that a 40 point drop in OPS+ was all due to a new ballpark. Clearly there were some things going on in the Mariners clubhouse that did not sit well with him, and he was adjusting to a brand new team and league as their “big off-season addition”. A return to the NL Central could be a welcomed return for Winker.
Winker also fits the profile of what the Cardinals will likely look for in a left-handed bat. The clearest path to at-bats for that kind of player with be at DH or the outfield, which Winker can easily slot into both spots.