5 players the Cardinals need to avoid at all costs in free agency

The Cardinals plan to spend in free agency. Who should the Cardinals avoid at all costs?
John Mozliak, Cardinals president of baseball opeartions
John Mozliak, Cardinals president of baseball opeartions / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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Trevor Bauer is a player the Cardinals must avoid at all costs during free agency

If you've spent any time on social media, there is a segment of Cardinals fans who are passionate about the Cardinals signing this man. That would be the worst idea the Cardinals have ever had, including not getting any pitchers last offseason. Yes, signing Bauer would be worse than that.

While he has a horrible reputation amongst his colleagues in the clubhouse, this isn't the main reason signing Bauer would be a bad idea.

No. It's that it's been two and a half years since he played in the MLB. He had been on paid administrative leave from the Dodgers in June 2021. He didn't pitch again in 2021. He was suspended and did not pitch during the 2022 season. After the suspension ended, he was released by the Dodgers in January 2023. Teams could have signed him in free agency. They did not, though. He signed with the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Japan Central League. He also played for the team's Japan Eastern League.

In his 24 games with the Bay Stars, he was 11-4 and had two complete games. That's pretty good. He had 160 strikeouts over 156.1 innings. Again, that's pretty good. But there were definite cultural and clubhouse issues.

The Cardinals will be a much younger team in 2024. They will have several young, impressionable pitchers. They are looking to add at least three pitchers via free agency. The team needs good men. Good leaders. They are good guys who will set a proper example. This has always been a trait amongst the Cardinals.

On the other hand, Bauer has a mind of his own and a personality to match. It's also fair to mention he's been accused of some terrible things, including sexual assault. What team would want someone accused of that on their roster?

The Cardinals have had a few flawed characters over the years, with few exceptions. In a season where the team is looking to improve from where they were in 2023, signing Bauer would be a step in the wrong direction for the team. It would send a terrible message that the organization doesn't care about the caliber of people they bring into the organization. It's an easy guarantee that is not an image the Cardinals want to put out to fans.