The following outline, I trust, will not be followed by the Cardinals front office in the coming weeks. Nonetheless, this is my conception of how the team should be reshaped. This assumes the Cardinals will not go after Giancarlo Stanton. I know some in the St. Louis and national media believe the Cardinals will be serious suitors for the slugger. However, I doubt the FO will want to swallow $200 million to $295 million in one gulp.
Reshape roster so Cards are positioned to compete for NL Central and win 90+ games.
Maintain vast majority of young pitching prospects — the Cards only current strategic advantage.
Retool everyday core lineup to get younger, more left-handed hitting, more athletic and more defensively proficient.
TOP POSITION PLAYER TRADE, FREE AGENT TARGETS: Christian Yelich, Kyle Seager, Eric Hosmer, Didi Gregorius, Marcell Ozuna, J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas, Justin Upton, Giancarlo Stanton, Brandon Belt.
PLAYERS WHO SHOULD BE OR WILL LIKELY BE TRADED: Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, either Tommy Pham or Tyler O’Neill, Aledmys Diaz, Carson Kelly, Jedd Gyorko, Junior Fernandez, Austin Gomber, Sam Tuivailala.
Trade Fowler. I know he has a no-trade but I guarantee he’ll agree to go someplace. Will need to eat some salary but need the money to sign free agents and he blocks better defensive players and doesn’t really hit well enough for corner OF.
Trade Carpenter. He is starting to decline and will be 32 next year. Get something for him while he’s still good. Great pickup for certain AL teams.
Sign Eric Hosmer. He’ll be 28 next year so would be getting 4 years younger at 1B. He’s having career year at about .870 OPS and should be a good hitter for three or four years. Winning player.
Trade for Christian Yelich. Cards should pull out the stops to make this happen. He’s a LF hitting OF who can play a good CF or LF. He’ll be 26 next year and is already a low .800 OPS guy who could settle in at .900 during his upcoming peak years.
Trade for Kyle Seager, or alternatively, sign Mike Moustakas. Both dangerous bats and decent fielding, LH third baseman.
Another alternative: Trade for Didi Gregorius, the Yankees LH SS and move Paul DeJong to 3b. Yanks have top prospect Gleyber Torres waiting in the wings to play SS and might be willing to deal Didi.
Resign Nicasio as closer and add at least one other quality reliever via trade or free agent.
Everyday lineup possibilities
|Possible 1||Possible 2||Possible 3|
|Bader/Sierra CF||Bader/Sierra CF||Bader/Sierra CF|
|Yelich RF||Wong 2B||Wong 2B|
|Pham RF||Yelich LF||Yelich LF|
|Hosmer 1B||DeJong SS||DeJong 3B|
|DeJong SS||Hosmer 1B||Hosmer 1B|
|Seager/Moustakas 3B||O’Neill RF||O’Neill RF|
|Wong 2B||Seager/Moustakas 3B||Gregorius SS|
|Molina C||Molina C||Molina C|
- Scrapheap veteran for backup/long relief
- Free agent/trade
- Nicasio signing