St. Louis Cardinals State Of The Union For 2016

The Cardinals continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the milennium - with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. St. Louis could always sign 1 - 2 Starters via Free Agency as well. As it stands right now, the club has a payroll of around $133 MIL In 2016 listed. They can afford to add about $15 - $17 more million without batting an eye.

St. louis continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the millennium – with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. St. Louis could always sign 1 – 2 Starters via Free Agency as well. As it stands right now, the club has a payroll of around $133 MIL listed in 2016. They can afford to add about $15 – $17 more million without batting an eye.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Cardinals continue to be the model franchise in the Major Leagues.  With 9 NLCS births since 2000, this club has thrived with rolling over the roster, and not making mistakes on the Free Agency watch.

2016 shouldn’t be any different for competing for a playoff spot. St. Louis won 100 games in 2015 – and may top the century mark in 2016 again.  Crazily enough though it might not be enough for a Division win.

I think I can safely say the Cards and the Cubs are the two best all around teams in the big leagues right now.

I am still giving the nod to Chicago as the favorite right now, but that may change with some winter alterations.

Word has come down that Matt Holliday has been taking reps at 1B this offseasons.  If he were able to convert that to his positional arsenal for the next few years, than that would free up Matt Adams to be traded.

Among the moves the club has made over he last week was trade Jon Jay to the Padres for 2B Jedd Gyorko.  This is a classic Cardinals move.

Deal a guy with 1 one year left (back up as it be) for a guy with a 4 YR deal worth at least $32 MIL, but could turn out to be a steal if Gyorko can bounce back to be an above average fielder. As of right now, Gyorko will back 2B/3B and SS - and earn his keep doing that. If provides the St.Louis organization with some flexibility to trade

Deal a guy with 1 one year left (back up as it be) like Jon Jay for a guy with a 4 YR deal worth at least $32 MIL, but could turn out to be a steal if Gyorko can bounce back to be an above average Infielder.  As of right now, Gyorko will back 2B/3B and SS – and earn his keep doing that. If provides the St.Louis organization with some flexibility to trade.  With losing Jason Heyward and John Lackey to the Cardinals this winter, the GM still has some work to do.  Give him a chance to do it the Cardinals way.

Kolten Wong could also be traded if need be.  Although losing Gyorko’s ability to cover SS/3B and 2B would be a tough idea.  They would have to acquire a stalwart player in return for Wong’s services.

I wouldn’t deal the current 2B unless you could receive a Sonny Gray, Chris Sale or Jose Fernandez as part of a bigger package, but it sure beats one more year of Jon Jay as the 3rd OF backup.

John Mozeliak doesn’t have to worry about losing anyone even into the 2017 winter as well, as only 1B/OF Brandon Moss is listed as a Free Agent.  Moss could also be dealt to a team that needs a quality 1B bat.

Matt Adams is projected to earn only $1.5 MIL in 1st year Arbitration, as oppose to Moss’s projected salary of nearly $8 MIL in 2016, so he would be the cheaper player to hang onto.  I also don’t see much of a difference between the two right now.

St. Louis was said to be in the Chris Davis sweepstakes, however if Baltimore has offered the big 1B a 7 YRs/$150 MIL it would be ludicrous for the team to enter that bidding war.

The Cards are already nearing around $133 MIL in projected salary.  They may have room for one more decent contract to go with.

Adam Wainwright will come back to the Cards for a full year in 2016 - after seeing yet another season lost to injuries in 2015. Wainwright still has 3 years left at a total of $58.5 MIL left on the books. At Age 34, Waino will look to 4 of the last 4 full years finishing in the top 3 for NL Cy Young Voting. To date, he is 121 - 67 (.644) with a tight 2.98 ERA and 1.159 WHIP. If he can recover to form, it will make up for the team losing Lance Lynn to Tommy John Surgery for the coming year.

Adam Wainwright will come back to the Cards for a full year in 2016 – after seeing yet another season lost to injuries in 2015. Wainwright still has 3 years left at a total of $58.5 MIL left on the books. At Age 34, Waino will look to 4 of the last 4 full years finishing in the top 3 for NL Cy Young Voting. To date, he is 121 – 67 (.644) with a tight 2.98 ERA and 1.159 WHIP. If he can recover to form, it will make up for the team losing Lance Lynn to Tommy John Surgery for the coming year.

Adam Wainwright comes back to the rotation after another full year of recovering from his injury.  He will technically make up for the loss of Lance Lynn.

Michael Wacha asserted himself as a legitimate top end of the rotation chucker in 2015.

With how awesome he fared, some would say that this would be an even trade straight up. Michael Wacha, 22, was picked in the 2012 Conditional Draft Pick selection the Cards received for the Angels signing Albert Pujols in the winter of 2011. With how awesome he fared, some would say that this would be an even trade straight up. Wacha made up for missing some of 2014, with a 17 - 7 record, compiled by a 3.38 ERA in his 30 Game Starts. Wacha can pitch like an ace. 2015 saw the RHP appear in his 1st ALL - Star Game and he tallied 181.1 Innings worth of work.

With how awesome he has fared this early in his career, some would say that this would be an even trade straight up with the guy he was the 2012 Conditional Pick for in Albert Pujols.  Wacha, 24,  made up for missing some of 2014, with a 17 – 7 record, compiled by a 3.38 ERA in his 30 Game Starts. He can pitch like an ace. 2015 saw the RHP appear in his 1st ALL – Star Game and he tallied 181.1 Innings worth of work.

Carlos Martinez also finally lived up to his prospect billing, as he went 14 – 7, with a 3.01 ERA in 2015, lugging 29 starts and close to 180 Innings.

Jaime Garcia rallied from a couple of injury riddled years, to post a 10 – 6 record, with a 2.43 ERA spanning 20 Starts.

Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzalez should battle for the #5 starter.

The Cards could use some veteran help with Starts.  Maybe a Doug Fister or Mike Leake would be wise to invest in.  Leake has already been linked to the Cards for several months this winter.

Update: Cardinals Signed Mike Leake

I also think with Wainwright, you never know about his health either.

St. Louis may also seek a Starter via trade.  I would not be surprised if they orchestrated a deal for one of the Rays Pitchers (like Jake Odorizzi), and offering a player back in return like a Tommy Pham or Matt Adams.

The Outfield should be set with Stephen Piscotty and Randall Grichuk nailing down everyday slots after breaking out in 2015. Moss could be the other OF if Holliday goes to the Infield at 1B. Pham is a great backup option. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards go after another OF on the Free Agent Market either.  Don’t look for them to overpay, and they certainly could ride out the winter until some of the guys have their price dropped.  I am not sure they would go for any of the premiere guys either. 

Lord knows Tampa could use a DH like Adams right now.  Pham has also played Shortstop in his career, and may be a great backup plan for a player like Brad Miller.

As the club sits right now, their bench is strong.  Pham, Adams, Gyorko and Brayan Pena have all had success at the Major Leagues before.

Yadier is the best defensive Catcher in the Major Leagues right now. He has won 8 straight Gold Gloves for the position. In the last few years, the 7 time ALL-Star has started

Yadier is the best defensive Catcher in the Major Leagues right now. He has won 8 straight Gold Gloves for the position.  Heading into his age 33 year, he has lots of miles as a backstopper. 2014 and 2015 have seen his production decline from the prime years of his career.  Last season, he accumulated just a .660 OPS – which was his 1st campaign under .700 since 2007.  Molina still makes great contact and should be able to hit for a decent average.  His power may just be gone.

St. Louis was also smart enough to bolster its Relief Core again by adding Jonathan Broxton back.  Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Seth Maness and Jordan Walden all have plenty of experience out of the Bullpen.

All of the Bullpen guys are right handed and so that may factor on Mozeliak trading for a guy.  Again, going back to a potential for a deal with Tampa Bay makes sense for a setup man like Jake McGee.

For remaining Lefties in Free Agency, there is: Jeremy Affeldt, Matt Thornton, Randy Choate, Buddy Carlyle and Ross Detwiler all on the open market.  Perhaps only Affeldt and Thornton would come close to what the squad needs in 2016.

Choate did appear in 71 games during the 2015 season, although incredibly he only pitched 27.1 Innings – and faced 117 hitters,  That is just over a batter and a half per inning.

Whomever the Cards decide to rely on – or trade for, they are looking to upgrade an already stellar team that is coming back for the 2016 season. 

This squad should be in the playoff mix for a 6th straight year -with another 90+ win campaign.  Whether or not they have enough to win it all could depend on what happens the next 8 months.

Matt Holliday has just two years left on his 7 YRs/$119 MIL deal. It was the richest contract doled out by the franchise ever. With him taking reps at 1B in the offseason, the club could free up both Matt Adams or Brandon Moss for a potential deal. The power RHB battled injury in 2015 - and failed to register a 20 HR campaign for the 1st time in a decade,

Matt Holliday has just two years left on his 7 YRs/$119 MIL deal. It was the richest contract doled out by the franchise ever. With him taking reps at 1B in the offseason, the club could free up both Matt Adams or Brandon Moss for a potential deal. The power RHB battled injury in 2015 – and failed to register a 20 HR campaign for the 1st time in a decade.  Considering Holliday just played in 73 Games last year, perhaps the club could use another Outfielder on the Roster as well.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my record 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015.  It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008. 

During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews and be named the Baseball Blogger Alliance President.

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

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Posted on December 23, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of The Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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