How to pass the Cubs: an Offseason

Without any substantially baseball news to keep my mind tethered to reality, it has gone off onto la-la land and returned with this offseason plan. It's actually quite measured and benefits the Cardinals now and in the future. So let's get into it!

Step 1: Chris Archer

Yes, I know this isn't original, but this makes sense. The Rays acknowledge that this season will not be a competing season for them and that they have good players; none better than Sir Chris Archer. What it takes to get him will hurt, but it makes sense for both teams involved. The Cardinals would give Carson Kelly, Jack Flaherty, Harrison Bader, and Junior Fernandez to the Tampa bay Rays. According to MLB pipeline, that's the #32 prospect and the best defending catcher, the #48 prospect, the #90 prospect, and Fernandez for 4 years of Chris Archer. This package seems pretty fair for both sides, but might be a bit light on the Cardinals ends. If necessary I would be comfortable exchanging Fernandez with Dakota Hudson in this deal. Every player the Cardinals give up in this scenario can contribute either this year or next year while providing a controllable core to build around for the Rays.

Archer is a legit top of the rotation starter and his numbers are far more than respectable even while pitching in the AL East. His average FIP over the last 4 years is a 3.38 which would be the best in the NL central among pitchers who threw at least 100 innings every year and are not named Arrieta. Additionally, Chris Archer seems to be one of the genuinely best people in baseball (this is based almost entirely on his tweets but still)

Step 2: Josh Donaldson

For those of you counting at home, the Cardinals now have 6 starting pitchers and Alex Reyes. Time to lose one. For Donaldson, I am giving up Michael Wacha and Jedd Gyorko. This makes abundant sense for both teams. Firstly, Jedd is projected somewhere between 2-3 wins and can play any position on the infield. He would also be a more than serviceable player for two years while the Blue Jays wait for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to come up and be a superstar. Wacha becomes the 5th starter they need and makes the Blue Jays starting Rotation one of the best in the AL. That rotation along with the incredible bullpen they have is really very good. I personally believe that they should be entering a small re-tooling period, but the Jays have fans to satisfy and have to show that they will compete every year. I believe that this deal does that. Now the Jays have at least 2 years of cheap, above average players that offer payroll flexibility to fix other holes. If they really wanted to compete, they could now sign Lorenzo Cain to the outfield and the Blue Jays would have a much better team than if they had just kept Donaldson. I think this trade complete sense for both teams.

I'm not going to sell you Donaldson in this paragraph. He is very good and is projected for 6.2 fWar. I would love to sign him to a contract extension of four years/104 million (26 million a year) after the season. This would be possible because of the 19.5 million that Wainwright would free up after this year.

Payroll: $$$

Craig Edwards, before any offseason moves were made, concluded that the Cardinals could safely spend 50 million this year in added salary while maintaining a 10 million dollar cushion. Lets take a look at what we have left now. Luke Gregerson is 5.5 million a year, Miles Mikolas is 7.75 million a year, Ozuna is about 10 million a year. Counting in Donaldson and Archer, we add about 20 million from Donaldson and 6.2 from Archer. The Cardinals no longer pay Wacha (5.9 million), Jedd (6.5 million), Piscotty (1.3 million) Kelly (0.5 million), Flaherty (0.5), or Bader (0.5). So the amount of money left to spend for the Cardinals is 15.75 million dollars.

Step 3: Wade Davis

Sign Wade Davis to a 4 year 60 million dollar contract like he is expected to be signed to. He has been a premier closer for years and relief pitchers do not show their age as quickly as other players. Yes, relievers break and this is a risky investment but every competing team has an elite closer and you will not find a better closer available. The addition of Davis also makes the entire Cardinals bullpen elite now, and as we have seen from play-off baseball, bullpens are everything.

step 4: Any back-up catcher for minimum or close to it

Molina will be buried under home-plate at this rate. So I don't think the Cardinals should go and invest in a backup catcher heavily. I would love Alex Avila because he is good and has stated that he doesn't need to start to be content, but there isn't much room to afford the salary he'd command.

2018 Outlook:

Lineup: Carpenter, Pham, Donaldson, Ozuna, Fowler, Molina, DeJong, Wong (Elite)

Rotation: Martinez, Archer, Weaver, Mikolas, Wainwright (Pretty dang good)

Bullpen: Davis, Lyons, Cecil, Gregerson, Brebbia, Bowman, Tuivialala, Reyes (Elite)

2019 Outlook:

Lineup: Same as above (Elite)

Rotation: Martinez, Archer, Reyes, Weaver, Mikolas (Elite)

Bullpen: same as above (Elite)


I don't think it makes much sense to project further than 2019 but wow! If you had a rotation where Reyes is your number 3 and Weaver your 4, that's pretty amazing. Although the farm is weaker, you still have John Gant and Austin Gombers in case of emergency. The top outfield prospects stayed (O'niel, Adolis Garcia, Arozarena). The pitching core you have set up lasts for 4 years at an extremely cheap price so the Cardinals won't have to lean on the farm for pitching. No infield prospects were traded during the offseason. The biggest loss was Carson Kelly, and the biggest gamble is that Andrew Knizner will be ready in 2-3 years, but I think that is his expected timeline anyway.


I do not believe that this will transpire. Probably the Cardinals just trade for Colomé and they enter the season, but if the Cardinals make these moves I believe they'd be the best the team in the central and one of the top World Series Contender for the next two to four years.

Thanks for reading!