Now What Nolan?

Now that the Cardinal fans have had a second to digest the trade that we have waited years for, it is time to ask the question: What do we do with Nolan? No, not that one. I am talking about Nolan Gorman. The future of the Cardinals at third base just a few weeks ago now seems to be blocked for the next several years. Here are a few thoughts of how to get one of the top prospects in baseball to the big league club. Something to note here, I am assuming Nolan Arenado does not opt out of his contract after 2021 or 2022 and that he does not get frustrated with the club and demand a trade (like that would ever happen with the Cardinals).

1) Short Stop. The Cardinals are nearing a crossroads at Short. Paul Dejong is signed through 2023 with a team option for 2024 and 2025. I do not see the Cardinals picking up those options at this time, though a lot can change in a few years. Shifting Nolan Gorman to short stop now would allow him a few years to get used to the position. That said, this is not a shift that usually happens. If anything, this happens in the other direction. Even the great Manny Machado was practically begging to play short stop but has kept at third base. I do not think this is likely, but it is an option to get him to the big leagues sooner than waiting out the Arenado contract.

2) Designated Hitter. It may not be happening this year, but sooner or later the DH is coming to the National League. Nolan Gorman could be a great internal candidate for the DH, especially with a few more years of minor league practice under his belt. Give him a few starts at third whenever Arenado needs a break, and the rest of the time have him be the starting DH. This seems like the most likely scenario for him to play as a Cardinal in the Major Leagues. Plus, he should play well at the DH position, given that he won multiple Homerun Derbies as a high schooler. Sure, those skills do not always transfer to the game, but the raw power seems to be there. It is at least worth a shot.

3) Trade. In the last section, I claimed his best chances to play as a Cardinal were at DH, but this does not mean that other teams would not love to have a top prospect as their future third baseman. In a year or so, when the Cardinals finally understand their outfield situation, Gorman could form the core of a great trade package for a good outfielder or a top pitcher. He is young, cost controlled, and projects to have great power at third or DH. I would hate to see a former first rounder traded, but that is part of the fun when you just stole Nolan Arenado from the Rockies.

Nolan Gorman seems to be blocked at his current position. Unless the Cardinals have a plan to dispose of Arenado anytime soon, Gorman needs to find another way to the Majors. I hope Nolan sticks around at third for a while, and Nolan can contribute through SS (not likely), DH, or a trade. Either way, I think Nolan will be at third for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for reading, and GO CARDS!