The free agent farmer’s market is officially open for business, and the rumor mill is churning in full force. Fellow citizen, prepare to be fully immersed in a perpetual and almost nonsensical stream of rumors and “inside information.”
With that lead in, let’s take a look at all of the rumors surrounding the St. Louis Cardinals and how I personally feel about them and gauge their probability of actually coming to fruition.
Rumor #1: Cardinals could target Freddie Freeman in a trade
I haven’t really heard this from any credible insiders, it’s been more of an internet blogger piece of clickbait. But still, it gets my attention because we’re talking about Freddie Freeman here.
I’ve written about possibly solving the Cardinals 1st base issue by trading Matt Adams to Baltimore for a bullpen package and letting Stephen Piscotty run with 1st base, but the more and more I think about that the more and more I realize that Piscotty’s future is in the outfield, not at 1st base. So why put him there now?
Atlanta sort of seems to be caught in the middle of a total rebuild and an attempt to contend right now, as they have been acquiring players that are young and raw enough to be developed as future talents, but still will be able to contribute right away in 2016. The Cardinals have plenty to offer in that regard.
Ideally, they could sell Atlanta on the potential of Matt Adams as a cheap alternative to Freeman and the veteran presence of Matt Holliday in that outfield to help bolster the development of Hector Olivera. Combine that with a pitcher like Tim Cooney or Marco Gonzales and it would be enough to get the deal done.
But we don’t live in an ideal world and there is no way in hell that scenario would ever play out. Regardless of that, if Atlanta is selling Freeman the Cardinals should give him a look. He would be a massive upgrade over anything the Cardinals could put out there in 2016, not to mention they would have control of him for 6 more years at a rather modest $16 million a year considering his talent level.
Will it happen? Extremely doubtful for two reasons. Reason 1 is that the Cardinals don’t go out and make big deals for positions that they already have internal options for. John Mozeliak is too conservative, and loves giving his homegrown guys a chance. And reason 2 is that the Braves really have no reason to deal Freeman. He’s young, he’s controlled, and he’s exceptionally talented, not to mention the fact that he’s the face of the franchise. This deal won’t happen.
Rumor #2: The Cardinals have reached out to Mark Buehrle to express their interest, but Buehrle isn’t sure if he wants to play in 2016
This one actually has some weight, as Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun writes that, “while Buehrle is unsure of whether or not he wants to pitch in 2016, he will sign with the Cardinals if he does.” So basically, it’s retirement or the Cardinals for the St. Charles native Buehrle. How do I feel about it?
Don’t like it.
Buehrle requested that he be left off of Toronto’s playoff roster because he was retiring at the end of the season and didn’t want to pitch in the playoffs. That, to me, sounds like a guy that’s out of gas in his baseball life and I just have no interest in that on the Cardinals in 2016.
Currently, with Lance Lynn’s absence, the Cardinals have an innings void that they don’t necessarily know how to fill at the moment. Could Buehrle provide the club with about 200 or so quality innings to fill that gap? Potentially, and he’d probably be relatively cheap too. But I just don’t like this one.
I feel like Buehrle has run his course in the game, and when I consider the incredible depth of the starting pitching market this offseason, the Cardinals can find a much, much better option to fill those innings.
So I don’t like this one, but the probability of it happening is way higher than the Freeman trade. Keep your eyes on this one.
Rumor #3: The Cardinals are in contact with Scott Boras and have shown strong interest in Chris Davis
Again, like the last rumor this one has significant weight, as Ken Rosenthal first reported it and was subsequently backed up by John Paul Morosi and multiple other outlets. But unlike my casual displeasure with the last rumor, I really don’t like this one.
The Cardinals need power, and they need it in spades, and this has been well documented by anyone with an opinion that has watched the Cardinals over the course of the past 4 or 5 years. But Chris Davis is not the answer to the Cardinals power deficiency.
Everything in baseball is a gamble, but some gambles are not ones worth taking. And although Davis has defensive versatility and can launch homers when he’s right, he strikes out so freaking much, doesn’t fit the Cardinals offensive mold, would cost them a 1st round draft pick, and will likely command around $25 million a year.
Davis will also be on the wrong side of 30 for the majority of any long term deal he would sign, and aging power hitters are not something that you want to be dishing out $20+ million to.
As I inferred with my endorsement of the Cardinals potential pursuit of Freddie Freeman earlier, I am all for going out and searching for answers at 1st base from outside sources, but I would much rather have an internal solution over Chris Davis.
Do I like it? Hell no, and I’m really against it. But will it happen? I have absolutely no clue. I expected the Cardinals to check in on Davis, but I still don’t expect them to be major players in his market. So keep an eye on this one simply because it’s a big fish in the free agent pond, but don’t put too much stock into the early rumor reports.
If you can’t tell from these rumors, the Cardinals deficiencies heading into 2016 are really clear. They need starting pitching in place of Lance Lynn – and also with the entire rest of the rotation having injury issues – and they need a solution to their 1st base issue. What doesn’t come up here is their bullpen issues, but that’s a different topic for a different day.
As I usually say, the cards are in the hands of almighty John Mozeliak, and I have faith that he’ll get the job done. As for the rumor mill, it’ll keep churning, and I’ll keep looking and listening and opining.
Thanks for reading…