Scenario #2 - The Cardinals meet the A's asking price
In this second scenario, John Mozeliak and company give into the Athletics' asking price, trading away Nootbaar, Donovan, and Graceffo for Murphy.
There was a lot of talk at the time that depending on what kind of package the club had to give up for Murphy, they would have explored adding a left-handed bat to the lineup. This would have been an even bigger need if both Nootbaar and Donovan were dealt. The name that seemed to make the most sense for St. Louis here was Cody Bellinger.
Bellinger, who is a former MVP, has had a great season so far for the Cubs, slashing .300/.380/.550 with 5 HR and 15 RBI while playing elite center field defense. Here is how the Cardinals' lineup would have stacked up.
- SS Tommy Edman
- 1B Paul Goldschmidt
- 2B Nolan Gorman
- 3B Nolan Arenado
- CF Cody Bellinger
- C Sean Murphy
- DH Alec Burleson
- LF Tyler O'Neill
- RF Jordan Walker
Oddly enough, the package that felt like an insane asking price at the time, may have ended up being better for St. Louis than the one they wanted to offer. I'd still rather have Nootbar, Donovan, and Graceffo than Murphy, but if Bellinger's rebound this year is for real, the combination of him and Murphy in the Cardinals' lineup would have been filthy. Bellinger, Muprhy, and Gorman are all hitting like All-Stars right now, and pair that with Goldschmidt and Arenado, it's easily the best lineup in baseball.
Obivously Nootbaar has been great for St. Louis so far, and Donovan will surely bounce back, but it's interesting to see what kind of lineup they could have put together.