While the Cardinals have already made two significant additions via free agency, they could consider a third, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis is expected to consider free agents Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo, both of whom exited the Winter Meetings without a contract. Either of those players would presumably factor at first base for the Cards, if they are ultimately pursued. Though the team has said it intends to utilize Matt Carpenter there, he could theoretically shift back to third base if one of those big bats were to be added. (Matt Adams also remains on hand, though the organization already has signaled that it will not use him as a regular option at first with Carpenter’s position change.) Of course, both Encarnacion and Trumbo are somewhat questionable targets for a National League team, since both could well need to shift to a pure DH role at some point in the coming years. Unsurprisingly, then, it seems the Cardinals’ interest may be limited to a scenario where Encarnacion or Trumbo is forced to consider a shorter-term pact, ESPN.com’s Mark Saxon notes on Twitter.
- The most recent Cardinals’ signing was a five-year arrangement with center fielder Dexter Fowler. It’s a sensible deal from the team’s perspective, Keith Law of ESPN.com opines (Insider link). Fowler’s high-OBP bat is a perfect fit for the lineup, Law writes, and he steps right in at a position of obvious need. While Law argues that Fowler came at a solid value, even with a $82.5MM guarantee, the Cards surely would’ve preferred to spend less. But that became nearly impossible when Ian Desmond signed with the Rockies and Adam Eaton went to the Nationals via trade, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag notes on Twitter. St. Louis had been pursuing Desmond along with Fowler, and its hand was forced somewhat by those other moves.
- St. Louis seems inclined to continue focusing on the free-agent market rather than pursuing major trades, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch writes. GM John Mozeliak explains that the organization remains loath to part with talented young righty Alex Reyes. After him, he suggests, “maybe we just didn’t have that next tier [of prospects] that was good enough to compete with some of the names being bantered about.” This prospect “gap,” as Mozeliak terms it, would have forced the team either to sacrifice Reyes or a number of other youngsters to find significant upgrades via trade. “The problem you start to run into there is then quantity, and how much are you willing to part with if you’re not willing to move Reyes?” Mozeliak explained. “And that can be a pretty big hit from a volume standpoint. We finally got this system up to where we have some confidence in it. And to move four or five players from there, that would be hard to do.”