Amidst all the fun offseason rumors I've have been thinking about some of the options the Cardinals have. And for once, it feels like Mo and the management boys want to actually add solid pieces, not just bargain shop towards the end of FA...
We have a lot of options to improve the team, and I will list a few below, just to guage what people would like to see us do. But when deciding take into account the financial and compensation both now and in the future, just so were not looking at things in terms of the 2019 St Louis Cardinals. Or do whatever you want really, im writing this for fun during the "lull" in the not-FA gap between the World Series and when we can sign people. Also, there are hundreds of moves we can make, these are just based off of rumors and what I think is at least Semi-realistic and plausible.
Scenario 1: Big Fish Bat
Open the Wallet for Bryce Harper. Assuming he'd have interest in joining the Cardinals, would you guys like to shell out probably 340-380 million dollars over the next 10 years? Ill get to what I'd like to see at the end, but bare in mind that signing Harper nabs you your superstar and face of the franchise - but also extremely limits your spending this offseason and for probably a few more (until pieces are traded or whatever).
Scenario 2: 2 Big names via Trade
It's rumored the Diamondbacks are open for business. And naturally I'll mention the Cardinals as a destination spot for Paul Goldschmidt. He is a 31 year old first baseman who is one of the better 1b in the league. However, there are 2 problems (if you want to call them that) with his acquisition. It won't be cheap (probably a good few prospects), he plays 1B (where Carpenter resides) and any trade from ARZ will probably include the rest of Zach Greinke's deal. We have a deep group of prospects so that is probably the least burdensome, and you can probably throw Carp at 3B without a major disruption (although his defense has regressed). Greinke still pitches like a solid #2 pitcher, and would be a welcome former-ace with a few good years left - but his deal is big.
Scenario 3: Big Fish Relief
The Cardinals should be on full alert when deciding who to throw big contracts at, especially relief pitchers (arguably our worst FA deals in the recent past). How would you feel about adding somebody like Craig Kimbrel? One of the best if not the best closers in the past decade, but he probably will command top reliever money on the market. This move could backfire big time, but could also secure our 8-9 options for the next 5 or so years. This move still allows us to chase a lesser free agent (albeit probably a good one still) as an offensive upgrade.
Scenario 4: Reclamation Project
Probably what I would tab as the most likely thing we do is signing somebody who can be good, but has shown reason to worry going forward. Enter: Josh Donaldson. A new 3B makes a lot of sense, and he showed signs of what he was in 2016ish last season - but is also not far removed from lingering injuries. An offseason of getting healthy should help him and my guess is he seeks a 1 year deal (~20 mil?) to re-establish himself next offseason. Yes he is another year older but the difference between somebody's age 33 and 34 season isn't really the same as say a 29-30. With this we could also seek a reclamation project in the pen, or at least a cheaper alternative to a Kimbrel, maybe an Andrew Miller? The once dominant lefty has dealt with injuries but if healthy can still be a big time weapon at age 34.
Scenario 5: Bargain Hunting
Including this because as much as i hate to see it, its still an option. The Cardinals could roll out mostly the same lineup next year as our 2018 Cards. Maybe we add a few cheap additions. Maybe some are hidden gems (first half Bud Norris) or maybe we strike (or fail) on guys who sit on the market (Greg Holland)
Of course there are more options. The Indians are open for sale (Kluber?). People like Michael Brantley exist. There are some good utility players like Marwin Gonzales in FA (who i personally would love to see replace Greg Garcia).
Of the scenarios I listed - what would you like to see? Ill include a poll that doesn't include an "other" option - but please feel free to mention a Scenario 6 that is as broad or precise a plan you want.
My personal preference from above (most wanted to least)
I just really don't want to see a passive offseason. Im ready for the risk in a big name for scenario 1. If not, load up on a few reclamations and hope 1-2 come through for ya. Kimbrel has stuff that should age well - but there is just always risks with relievers. I'd like the trade more than nothing because this team is close - just needs a bit of star power (Greinke and Goldschmidt do that for you, but lineups are tricky there after).
Thanks for reading and voting!