The St. Louis Cardinals have several items on their wish list for the 2023 season, including an Albert Pujols-like replacement for the bench.
When Albert Pujols returned to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022, no one knew just how important he would be to the team’s season. He was able to provide backup to first base and be an effective designated hitter down the stretch. The Cardinals then had the bonus of his presence in the clubhouse and lineup.
It’s doubtful any club will have that again, but the Cardinals need to find a way to replicate the magic they received from Pujols.
Let’s look at some options available for the Cardinals.
Andrew McCutchen could provide Cardinals veteran leadership
With 14 seasons in the books, Andrew McCutchen is consistently one of the more feared hitters in the league. At least for Cardinals fans.
For the Brewers, he hit .237/.316/.384 with an OPS of .700. He knocked 17 home runs and 69 RBIs. He had eight stolen bases as well. Not bad for a 36-year-old man. He doesn’t hit to opposite fields or get his bat on off-speed pitches. He still powers through to get on base and move his teammates around. The Cardinals desperately needed this in 2022, especially down the stretch.
A backup outfielder who can hit and move along the base path would be an essential find for the Cardinals this offseason. McCutchen may be just the player to sign, given his veteran status and ability to hit and run. He would influence the younger players looking to pick his brain regarding their speed along the base path.
He definitely wouldn’t garner a large contract, but a contract loaded with incentives for a couple of seasons may benefit McCutchen and the Cardinals.