The St. Louis Cardinals have been the most frequently mentioned team since the offseason began. Giancarlo Stanton has been the most frequently mentioned name since the offseason began(other than Shohei Ohtani). With that being said we will kick off Stanton and the Cardinals in this post. Before we do that though, it’s worth mentioning that there are other moves that we will be speculating on other than Stanton and the Cardinals, as St. Louis could perhaps be the most active team once the winter meetings begin in a couple of weeks. We will take a look at some moves St. Louis could make that could dominate the transactions front this winter. Lets begin with the aforementioned Stanton/Cardinals potential move.
Cardinals acquiring Giancarlo Stanton:
They have reportedly submitted an early offer to the Marlins for Stanton, but that doesn’t mean much right now as both teams will continue to go back and forth over the coming weeks as Marlins management continues to look for what they will be the perfect offer for their MVP slugger. St. Louis and San Francisco are the top two teams vying for Stanton at the moment, and it’s beginning to look likely that it could come down to those two teams in the Stanton sweepstakes.
The Marlins want both prospects and the acquiring team to pay down a significant portion of Stanton’s contract, which will obviously be the main sticking point in negotiations. Unlike the Giants, the Cardinals have the payroll space to take on more money from Stanton’s contract. I believe St. Louis will get him, as they have the most enticing collection of players and the space to acquire him. Money however, will obviously play the biggest role.
Now here’s one sort of deal I thought of would be both interesting, but difficult to envision. It would be an expanded deal between the two teams. The deal would send Stanton, Dee Gordon, Dan Straily, Kyle Barraclough, and Miami would pay down $150MM total between the Stanton and Gordon contracts to St. Louis. In exchange in the deal, the Marlins would receive outfielder Stephen Piscotty, 2nd baseman Kolten Wong, starter Michael Wacha, and two of the Cardinals top 10 prospects.
The Cardinals in the deal would finally land Stanton, and would also fill two other needs in the rotation with Straily and the bullpen in Barraclough. While the Cards probably don’t need Gordon, they could take him on as a way of being able to trade Wong, who has sort of fallen out of favor at times by the Cards. Money does play a huge role in how much St. Louis would take on in the Stanton/Gordon deals, however.
For the Marlins, they would receive the salary relief they are desperately looking for plus they would get Piscotty who has plenty of upside at a much lesser of a cost(though he will never replace Stanton’s production). They would also fill a need in the rotation by getting Wacha, plus Wong could fill the void left by Gordon at a lesser cost as well. A couple of prospects could also head the Marlins way.
While that type of deal has plenty of flaws(and plenty of people that will call me crazy), some of the players in that speculated trade(not including Stanton) could realistically be in the discussions between the two teams.
Nonetheless, I expect the Cardinals and Marlins to eventually work something out to send Stanton to St. Louis, even if it takes plenty of convincing to get Stanton to waive that no-trade clause. Speaking of their payroll space..
-Cardinals Signing Jake Arrieta
They would like to add a frontline starter, whether through trade or free agency, but I can see them making a real play for Arrieta. Stanton drama aside, Arrieta would fill that frontline starter role, giving the Cards another top rotation piece to what president of Baseball Operations John Moezliak hopes to be a World Series contender. Not to mention they have plenty of familiarity with Arrieta when he was pitching with the Cubs.
-Cardinals signing Greg Holland and/or Wade Davis
Another need and pretty much the biggest need for the Cardinals is a closer. They will be in the market for the top relievers available, and they have already been linked to Holland. But would it be crazy to see them sign Holland then make a bid at another top reliever in Wade Davis? Signing those two would make the St. Louis bullpen as scary as any pen in baseball.
It’s also worth mentioning Shohei Ohtani, as every team in baseball will be linked to him, but it’s a lot less likely St. Louis would land the Japanese phenom due to their logjam in the outfield(where Ohtani has interest in playing on days when he doesn’t pitch) and smaller international bonus pool.
The Cardinals are guaranteed to make at least one big splash at the winter meetings and whether it’s move(s) that involve any of these players, or moves that could involve any other free agents(Yu Darvish) or trade candidates(Brad Hand, Gerrit Cole), President of Baseball Ops John Mozeliak is all but guaranteed to help make this team a World Series contender in 2018.