Should the Cardinals Upgrade at Third Base?

The Cardinals started the offseason by attempting to trade for Giancarlo Stanton. After much effort from the front office, Stanton said no. Which made the Cardinals move on to their next target Marcell Ozuna. On the final day of Winter Meetings the St. Louis Cardinals traded Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano to the Miami Marlins for Marcell Ozuna. The Cardinals finally received their impact bat they were looking for this offseason. After the trade was completed many fans were content with the move they made but some fans wanted more. Some fans argue that we need another starting pitcher in the rotation or that we need a closer. I say we need to upgrade at third base. Jedd Gyorko should not be in the plans for the future St. Louis Cardinals.

Having Gyorko in the future plans for the Cardinals is not the right direction to be headed in. Last season, Gyorko slashed .272/.341/.472 hitting 20 Home Runs and 52 RBI which is an improvement from 2016 but he only posted a WAR of 3.6 (eighth best WAR among third baseman) Why not trade for Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado or Brian Dozier who are better performing players in the MLB than Gyorko?

Josh Donaldson turned thirty-two in December and spent some time on the disabled list last season but the former American League MVP can still knock the threading off the baseball if you put a bat in his hands. In only 113 games played last season Donaldson slashed .270/.385/.559 hitting 33 Home Runs and 78 RBI with a 4.8 WAR (sixth best WAR among third baseman). Donaldson played in twelve less games than Gyorko last season and posted a much better on base percentage and slugging percentage. Donaldson still managed to post a 4.8 WAR in only 113 games played. His WAR would have been over 6.0 if he played a full 162 games. The 2015 AL MVP is currently entering his last season under contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and will be a free agent next offseason. I expect him to be a trade target for the Cardinals at the trade deadline or be a top target for the Cardinals next offseason, when he hits free agency.

Manny Machado turned twenty-five last July and has been a big name this offseason for many teams. The St. Louis Cardinals should think about trading for him this offseason or signing him next offseason. Machado slashed .259/.310/.470 hitting 33 Home Runs and 95 RBI with a 3.5 WAR (ninth best WAR among third baseman) in 156 games played this season. He struggled the first half of the 2017 season but picked his hitting numbers up in the second half of the season to finish strong. Manny is a superior defensive player as well, already winning two gold gloves in his career. Machado also finished top five in American League MVP voting in 2015 and 2016. Manny Machado will be a free agent next offseason. I expect him to be a target for the Cardinals next offseason but they won’t be the only team interested in the young third baseman.

Brian Dozier is a second baseman but it makes too much sense for the St. Louis Cardinals to trade for him or to sign him next offseason. Dozier slashed .271/.359/.498 hitting 34 home runs and 93 RBI with a 4.4 WAR (third best WAR among second baseman) in 152 games played. Dozier was a rumoured trade target last offseason for the Cardinals as Kolten Wong struggled from the plate in 2016, but Wong picked up his numbers in 2017 so the rumors died down. If the Cardinals were to acquire Dozier the infield would have to do some shifting. He is a 2B/SS but has mostly played second base his whole career. Brian could be a top target for the Cardinals next offseason due to the superstar free agent class. He would also be a cheaper option than Donaldson or Machado next offseason.

The St. Louis Cardinals have a variety options to choose from at third base. We will just have to wait and see if they choose to upgrade at third base in the near future.

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