4 free agent outfielders the Cardinals may target this offseason

Even though their big bats were injured often in 2023, the Cardinals could still stand to improve the offense this offseason.

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Harrison Bader

Wouldn't a reunion with a former beloved player be nice? Harrison Bader played his first 5.5 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. His effort, determination, and positive clubhouse presence were adored by fans. While Bader's bat never quite caught up to his defensive abilities, it was still serviceable in St. Louis. Bader is a true center fielder, similar to Kevin Kiermaier. Signing him would provide the Cardinals with comparable benefits that signing Kiermaier would have.

Bader is a slightly less polished fielder than Kevin Kiermaier, but he is 4 years younger and may be more apt to sign with St. Louis for a reunion tour. Bader racked up 9 OAA this year in center, and he has multiple years in double digits, including 2018 where he accumulated 18 OAA. He would provide an immediate boost to the team's outfield defense and would allow John Mozeliak the freedom to trade from the team's depth.

The main concern with Harrison, however, is his offensive abilities. He peaked in 2021 with an OPS+ of 114. Since then, Bader has yet to surpass an OPS+ of 85 in a complete season. His on-base percentage has simply not been good these last two years in New York, and he is walking at a career-low rate of 4.3% (bottom 6% of the league). His best offensive seasons came in St. Louis, so perhaps a return to the familiar confines of Busch Stadium would allow him to return to his old self.