Cardinals Can’t Pass on Mookie Betts

An Op/Ed

Hayden See, Reporter

There is  not much clarity as to how the Cardinals will approach their needs this offseason. However, they’d put themselves in position to win a championship by acquiring just a single player — Mookie Betts.

As it currently stands, calling the Cardinals’ outfield a logjam doesn’t even do it justice. They have close to 10 players who could realistically play. Dexter Fowler is the only outfielder with a spot locked in, and then two of Martinez, Bader, Carlson, Arozarena, Williams, Thomas and possibly Edman will take over the two remaining spots

St. Louis is in a prime position to declutter the outfield, while acquiring a top player in the league, 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts. It’s a no brainer. Betts would take the offense to the next level. The Cardinals’ team OPS+ was ranked 20th in baseball last year, and they were stymied for the entire NLCS. Betts would change that.

Mookie Betts had a down year in 2019 (by his standards) — slashing .295/.391/.524 (.915 OPS) — although, even in that ‘down year,’ he would’ve led the Cardinals in every one of those statistical categories (aside from AVG). The metrics check out as well, his xwOBA (a measure of a player’s ability to sustain production) was in the top 97th percentile of the MLB

The elephant in the room is his impending free agency following the 2020 season. But, I don’t see that as much of a deterrent. Look at Goldschmidt as a model. Betts fits into that same Goldschmidt archetype; trade for a pending free-agent, let him fall in love with the franchise, team and city, then lock them up long term. 

It’s not very often that a 27-year old former MVP is available to trade for. The Cardinals need to capitalize on the opportunity.