Stanton to the Cardinals?

Hayden See, Reporter

With cleanup hitter Marcell Ozuna likely departing, and the lack of offense displayed in the NLCS still fresh on the mind, it begs the question: is Giancarlo Stanton the answer? We’ve been through this before, as he declined a trade to St. Louis in the 2017 offseason, but this time it’s different. An article written by Scott Wuerz for the The Belleville News-Democrat brought this idea to light.

First let’s take a look at what Stanton would bring to the team; since he missed practically all of 2019 due to nagging injuries, we’ll delve into his 2019 numbers. He would’ve led the Cardinals in HR (38), slugging percentage (.509), wRC+ (129) and fWAR (4.3) this year. Defensively, he’s a top-tier outfielder with a strong throwing arm. He’d instantly make a paramount impact on the team, on both sides of the ball.

So, what’s different now that would make Stanton waive his NTC and come to St. Louis? Back when Stanton blocked a trade to the Cardinals, the club was coming off of a year in which they barely finished above .500, and missed the playoffs for the second straight year; not very appealing for a player trying to leave Miami to join a playoff contender. Now, though, St. Louis has shown itself to be a playoff threat; they’re just off a year where they won the division and made the NLCS. Adding to the argument, the New York media has been very critical of Stanton, even calling him “soft.” It is possible that he has fulfilled his dream of playing in the Big Apple, and is ready to get away from the constant media spotlight. Stanton would love it in St. Louis; he’d be the team’s superstar, the future face of the franchise, perform in a city that lives and breathes baseball, be seen as a hero around the area, grow his popularity, be a part of the most historic franchise in the NL, and he’d also get to play in front of 40,000+ passionate fans every home game. 

Why would the Yankees trade him? His time in New York hasn’t been all hunky dory; despite a strong 2018 campaign, he missed all but 18 regular season games in 2019.  With his inability to stay healthy, New York may see his salary better allocated elsewhere; especially with a strong upcoming free-agent class, containing big names such as Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon.

What would make the Cardinals do it? They’d be getting one of the premier outfielders in the league, while not having to give up touted prospects – only being on the hook for his salary. A $250 million commitment over nine-years remains on the deal, and while that is a large payroll commitment, a lot of money is coming off the books in the coming years; just this winter, $20 million is coming free (with Ozuna and Wacha likely leaving), and nearly another $30 million comes off the books following the 2020 season (as Molina retires and Cecil’s contract expires). 

Over the next month, there should be more of a sense if the Cardinals will pursue Stanton.