What’s next this winter for the St. Louis Cardinals?
After the blockbuster deal for superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado, the fans are thrilled. What will the St. Louis Cardinals do next?
Let’s get greedy. The St. Louis Cardinals made one of the largest acquisitions in recent history, trading for Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies. The applause for the front office and property is well deserved. The team is much better today than last week. It almost seems awkward to ask for more after swapping for a new franchise player, but what else could be on the shopping list?
To be clear, John Mozeliak and his company could get through the rest of the off-season and I would be happy. But what if they explore other movements? With Arenado they have established themselves as overwhelming favorites in the NL Central Division. You could jump into spring training in a couple of weeks and be in good shape.
But what if you’ve really decided on the carotid artery? Another step or two could take this team from division favorites to a team that can rival reigning champions Los Angeles Dodgers from head to toe. At today’s introductory press conference for Nolan Arenado, Mozeliak provided this interesting nugget.
Mozeliak: “We may not be finished yet. There are always ways to look further.”
– Ben Frederickson (@Ben_Fred) February 2, 2021
This could just be an indication of the likely re-signing of Yadier Molina that appears to be on the horizon. Or Mozeliak could give fans a hint that further steps are coming. There are a few areas that I think the team could benefit from expanding.
One area is pitching depth. Despite trading with Austin Gomber in the Arenado trade, pitching depth is still a strength. However, a team can never have too much pitching. With spring training approaching and a multitude of free agents still available, it might make sense to add some depth. There are still many interesting start options, such as Jake Odorizzi.
There are still some good relief pitching options on the free agent stack as well. Could it make sense to bring in an established, narrower, or late inning reliever in case Jordan Hicks returns to the role of closer? Giovanny Gallegos is great too, but you can never have enough pitching. With so many free agent pitchers still looking for a team, the St. Louis Cardinals may have an opportunity to up their depth.
The next area would be in the middle infield. If the team doesn’t bring Kolten Wong back, I’d love to see them bring Brad Miller back. As a utility guy and bank racket, Miller is an asset to a team. His role in the 2020 Cardinals was important.
Another good option could be Jonathan Schoop. Schoop has great power and with Tommy Edman could provide an excellent train partner on the second base. Adding Arenado and Schoop to the lineup would give this offense a tremendous amount of power.
Finally the outfield. Before the takeover of Arenado, the focus was on the outfield. Over the past few seasons the outfield production hasn’t been great and it seemed like a place for the team to upgrade. That’s still the case, but I’m not sure how ambitious the Cardinals will be if they keep looking for insults after Arenado.
They certainly added an impact club so they may decide to roll with this outfield orientation for another season and evaluate them after the 2021 season. With a lot of money out of the books after the next season, they could adjust and spin if necessary.
The St. Louis Cardinals have already received a top rating for this off-season. Nolan Arenado was a possibility that many fans only spoke of in hushed tones and that they imagined in their wildest dreams. The front office and ownership of the Cardinals made those wild dreams a reality. Nolan Arenado is a St. Louis Cardinal, and hopefully will be for the rest of his career. The Cardinals have every reason to be satisfied with their work in the off-season.
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A few more weeks until spring training. Let’s see what Mozeliak and his company do next. Do you continue shopping or go to the checkout, satisfied with your valuable item? One thing is for sure … the St. Louis Cardinals are exciting again.