With the kick off of the New Year, the St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason can kick into some serious gear. Can the RedBirds land some more big names, after Marcell Ozuna? Can they afford them?
The St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to many names this offseason. These names include Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Chris Archer, Alex Colome, Eric Hosmer, or possibly even Yu Darvish or large names who could test the Cardinals’ wallets. I will write about 3 of the big names. The real question is what can the organization reasonably do with what they reasonably have?
Is it reasonable to expect that Mozeliak has called agents for big names like Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado, even though in the past the Cardinals have been a “cheap” team?
Let’s push all of that aside and simply enjoy the rumors, something I love about baseball.
Moving to the mound, and yet another name that I would really love to see the St. Louis Cardinals grab, Yu Darvish makes a lot of sense for the birds especially in light of their new pitching coach and his past experience coaching this great arm.
Darvish had a pretty bad game in game seven of the 2017 World Series, but let us ignore this fact in light of his 2017 3.44 ERA across 49.2 innings with the Dodgers and his 4.01 ERA in 137 innings with the Rangers. These stats, show that Darvish can perform in 186-200+ innings in a season.
Would a move to the weakened NL-Central (assuming it remains weaker than teams faced in the American League) and back with his coach Mike Maddux have a revival for Darvish? I sure would like to see the Cardinals take the risk.
To the money, Darvish is a free agent in 2018 and is 31 years old. His last contract was with the Rangers and was a 6yr/$56M deal. With Darvish’s age, the signing team would be wise to risk nothing more than a 3-5 year deal. Darvish’s market value this offseason is around $21.9M, and he is expected to get a deal in the ballpark of 5yrs/$109M (according to spotrac.com).
Adding Darvish to the Donaldson, Hosmer, etc. team would mean that the St. Louis Cardinals would need to overcome millions at the top of the range. This money would therefore be tied into three-year deals with Donaldson and Darvish with the remaining millions tied for another player such as Hosmer and Colome.
Staying on the pitching mound, the St. Louis Cardinals might think it nice to go after Chris Archer to stock the starting rotation. The Cardinals have been rumored to have interest in Archer in the past and the general thought is that with the addition of Maddux, the Cardinals might stand a decent chance of landing this power arm.
Archer, like Ozuna before him, is under contract through 2019 meaning that the St. Louis Cardinals would need to trade for him. That shouldn’t be a problem, however, since the Cardinals have a ton of players.
In addition to sharing talent, the Cards would need to pick up Archer’s contract that is set to pay him just above $6.4M in 2018, just above $7.6M in 2019, and then the 2020 and 2021 years hold options valued at $9M and $11M.
These financial numbers make sense when you are thinking of adding a career 11.8 WAR pitcher with a career WHIP of 1.214. Additionally, Archer has been a reliable arm amassing 200+ innings on the mound in the past three seasons.
To the math then… If Archer is added to the three names listed above, the St. Louis Cardinals are looking to add many more millions to the total if Archer serves for three years (makes thing easier when including him in the figures so that he matches Donaldson and Darvish). This means that the Cards would need to spend a ton on these 3+ names.
Why does it make sense for Eric Hosmer?
Because this offseason has been absurdly slow for all of the top free agents, and eventually he needs to find a long-term deal that works for him before he’s left to compromise and accept a less lucrative deal with a contender just to lock in a contract that is worth it. Otherwise, he’d be left risking getting stuck in a one-year deal and having to re-enter the free agent market in an even more competitive field a year from now.
The Cardinals can provide that multi-year deal, and they are certainly contenders based on the pitching upgrades they’ve made over the past few weeks. It would also mean Hosmer doesn’t have to leave the state of Missouri when switching teams, which is helpful with taxes and mail forwarding and such. Have to think of all the angles here.
Time might be running out for him to find a home that he finds suitable, since multiple teams have engaged in talks but then gone in different directions or prioritized other possible signings rather than brought him on board.
Now, let’s assume all of these go through (I know they won’t), and see where the Cardinals will sit.
The Rotation could look something like:
Michael Wacha/Alex Reyes
Adam Wainwright/Jack Flaherty
Closer: Alex Colome
The Cardinals Lineup could look something like:
1. Matt Carpenter 1B/3B (position depending on if the Cards sign Hosmer or Donaldson)
2. Tommy Pham CF
3. Eric Hosmer 1B or Josh Donaldson 3B
4. Marcell Ozuna LF
5. Dexter Fowler RF
6. Paul DeJong SS
7. Yadier Molina C
8. Kolten Wong/Jedd Gyorko 2B
Yes, this will leave either Wong or Gyorko benched at points in the season.
Now, we just sit and wait if all our wishes can be fulfilled!