Potential Cardinals Offseason Adds


Josh Calloni, Reporter

The 2019 MLB offseason has officially begun, as over 400 players have elected major league free agency. Of those 400, which should the St. Louis Cardinals pinpoint moving forward?

The Cardinals main needs going into the offseason is a proven outfielder, a starting pitcher, a reliever, and an infielder to solidify the bench. On top of this, like every team, adding depth to stack up in the minor is never a bad idea, and can only help a team in the long run. 

The outfielder in need is a roaming question mark for the Cardinals. They can go the route of a big time outfielder, like resigning Marcell Ozuna, or let the young players duel out for spots in spring training, and add a veteran for the bench. The smartest option would be to let the younger players, like Tyler O’Neill, Randy Arozarena and Lane Thomas compete for spots, and bring in the veteran, which there are no shortage of on this years market. An offensive first outfielder, like Melky Cabrera could be had on a minor league deal, or, if the team wants to go the route of a two dimensional player, Keon Broxton, Corey Dickerson or Cameron Maybin could all be had for cheaper one year deals.

The need for a starting pitcher depends heavily on another team decision, and that is where Carlos Martinez will pitch. The long time starter moved to the bullpen in 2019, but is uncertain of his role in 2020. Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Adam Wainwright, and Miles Mikolas all figure to be in the rotation in 2020, barring injury, which is a solid four. Assuming Martinez stays as a reliever, a four of five starter could be brought in to battle in house options like Austin Gomber, Daniel Ponce De Leon and Genesis Cabrera for the fifth starter role. Former Cardinal Tyson Ross, Michael Pineda or Jordan Lyles could all be options there. Ross is coming off an injured year, and succeeded in St. Louis before, which could lead to a reunion. Pineda is due to serve a suspension until May which would play into the Cardinals favor because it does not force the team to make an immediate decision and could let the rotation play out for a few months. Lyles would be the best fit, as he can start, or pitch out of the bullpen, and do both with success. 

The relief corps of 2019 was very successful, as the best bullpen in the NL. Most of that group will return, aside from Mike Mayers. However, there was always one hole in the bullpen, and that could be solved this offseason. Submariner Joe Smith has a long track record of success in the majors, and can be had for a lesser contract due to his age and the deep reliever market this year. Astros reliever Will Harris has been one of the best relievers in the league since 2015 and hits the open market for the first time this winter. Much like Smith, his age makes him a cheaper commodity. Former Yankees all star Dellin Betances also hits free agency for the first time this winter as one of the most feared relievers in the game, and acquiring his services could really make a really good bullpen a super pen quickly.

The need for an infielder is not as prominent as the other holes, but a super utility player to replace give Yairo Munoz some competition could be useful, as Munoz advanced metrics were poor in 2019. Brad Miller, Josh Harrison, Brock Holt, Logan Forsythe and Wilmer Flores are all mainly infielders with the ability to move all over the diamond, and Miller and Holt would provide a left handed bench option that the Cardinals have been looking at for years now. 

As for depth, it is hard to pinpoint a certain position really, but easier to look at players that could be in low demand, and could be acquired for cheap to help the Cardinals in case of injury. Two relievers, Juan Minaya and Edubray Ramos stand out. Both are mid 20s year old relievers with options remaining, and have had at least some success at the major league level. In the case of a left handed reliever, Tim Collins and Daniel Stumpf stand out for the same reasons, though Collins is a bit older, at 30. Former Phillies infielder Mitch Walding is a free agent as well, and he’s had good minor league numbers that never translated in his short major league success. Speedy outfielder Terrance Gore could be a minor league add to enhance speed off the bench if the Cardinals make the playoffs. Finally, former Dodger catcher Rocky Gale could be a catcher the Cardinals look into as a depth move.

These hypothetical moves are based around the assumption that the Cardinals will resign backup catcher Matt Weiters, like they’ve discussed early on this winter. These moves, among trades and waiver claims, could highlight a somewhat busy offseason around St. Louis.