Hello all, as a Cardinals fan who lives in Chicago, watching the Cubs in the World Series has made me anxious to see what the Redbirds will do to keep pace. Here are a few of my off-season ideas. These are just ideas, they are not what I think are the most realistic outcomes or the best outcomes. JUST IDEAS!!
Disclaimer: These moves assume that a QO is offered to Brandon Moss and he rejects it and that Jaime Garcia's option is picked up.
Cardinals Trade: Weaver + Bader + prospect(s)
White Sox Trade: Adam Eaton
This would most likely result in keeping Randal Grichuk in CF next season and move Stephen Piscotty to LF, which I know is something Mo said he prefers not to do. However, hear me out: Eaton's WRC+ his last 3 seasons has been 118, 119, and 115 and he put up a UZR of 23.1 (!!) in 980.1 innings last year in RF. In addition, he can play CF in need of an emergency as he put up a UZR of -0.6 in 373.2 innings last year (although in the past he's had a brutally terrible UZR playing full time in CF). In addition, he signed a ridiculously cheap contract with the White Sox that gave the team control from 2015-2019 for 23.5 million + 2 option years.
When comparing him to a guy that a lot of people have been clamoring for, Charlie Blackmon, he offers a lot more in my opinion. Blackmon's only one significantly awesome season came this past year where he put up a WRC+ of 130 and he can't play CF any better than Eaton. On top of all that, he's 30 and doesn't provide long term control.
2nd Move: Disclaimer I'm not totally sure how necessary this trade is but I'm just having fun here so why not?
Cardinals Trade: Kolten Wong (I love him but again, I'm just putting this idea out there) + Jaime Garcia + prospect(s)
Angels Trade: Andrelton Simmons
I'm not totally sure if I'm compensating the Angels correctly for Simmons so I'm guessing it might take a little more than a package built around Wong, Garcia, and prospects to get him (maybe add Rosenthal?) The purpose behind this move would be to take Aledmys Diaz and shift him to 2B and hope for above average defense at 2B while getting elite defense at SS. The cons are that Simmons isn't a good hitter and you have much more offensive potential if you keep Wong at 2B and Diaz at SS. In addition to the depletion of SP depth with Garcia gone and Weaver out of the picture if 1st trade was to happen as well.
Cardinals sign Lourdes Gurriel
The thinking behind this move is that this guy is available to play 3B during the second half of the season. Assuming this move takes place, Jedd Gyorko who surprisingly put up a +1.7 UZR at 3B in 272 innings there last year, can split time there with Jhonny Peralta (who has bounce back potential in the optimist's viewpoint) until Lourdes is ready.
-Move Wacha to the bullpen and use him in a fireman's role.
-Test out Rosenthal as a SP if you're able to keep him out of the above trades and if that doesn't work use him in a fireman's role as well.
-Keep Oh as closer
-Add supplementary bullpen pieces to not have to rely on Siegrist and Broxton so much. Maybe even spend big if you're feeling it on a reliever that doesn't require the Cardinals to give up their first round draft pick like Mark Melancon.
-These moves would allow the Cardinals to keep their 1st round draft pick and move Matt Carpenter to a more optimal position in the lineup. In addition, you're upgrading or staying the same at almost every position defensively. Carpenter should be better than Moss was at 1B last year and may end up being better than Matt Adams. Aledmys Diaz would be a question mark just because we haven't seen him play 2B at the major league level, so that would be an issue, he seems like an athletic fellow though? Jedd Gyorko would hopefully be able to hold his own at 3B and float around once Lourdes Gurriel is ready. Simmons would be an elite SS and be an improvement on Diaz's defense last year although he showed signs of growth. As mentioned earlier, Adam Eaton had an excellent season in RF last year and Stephen Piscotty would be an upgrade over Matt Holliday in LF. Meanwhile, Yadi is fine behind the plate while Grichuk would hopefully have an easier job in CF with 2 solid guys in LF and RF.
-Speaking of the lineup, here's one potential configuration:
Adam Eaton (RF)
Aledmys Diaz (2B)
Matt Carpenter (1B)
Stephen Piscotty (LF)
Jedd Gyorko (3B)
Yadier Molina (C)
Randal Grichuk (CF)
Andrelton Simmons (SS)
If injuries occur, Michael Wacha can move back up to the rotation and you can hope that the injury occurs at a point in the season which would allow to keep his inning count down while moving into the starting role. And if this doesn't work, that's what the trade deadline is for anyways...right? (nervous chuckle)
This off-season roadmap is unlikely because Mo and Matheny sound bullish Kolten Wong getting more playing time at 2B (for good reason in my opinion) . So, it's probably not be the most likely outcome that they trade him. In addition, they already stated that their desire is to move Randal Grichuk to LF. Also, I'm not exactly sure if Matt Adams would have fit into any of the trades that I mentioned above so as of now he would be a bench bat I guess? Also, dealing Luke Weaver and Jaime Garcia in the same off-season would leave the Cardinals rotation susceptible to trouble if an injury occurs.
I really hope these ideas didn't make any of you readers want to gouge their eyes out and I apologize if they make no sense at all or for any statistical blunders or grammatical errors. I'm totally open to criticism!