I identified the needs, we have looked at catching now it is time to look at the Outfield/DH. While some may think this is an area that we have a surplus we actually don't.
As it sits on November 17, 2022, the Cardinals have 3 regular Outfielders with significant Major League experience. LF Tyler O'Neill, RF/CF Dylan Carlson, OF Lars Nootbaar.
Dylan Carlson via Stl Post dispatch Lars Nootbarr vis USA Today Tyler O'Neill by Joe Puetz via USA Today
Now they have Prospects who did spend a little time in the outfield this year Alec Burleson, Brendan Donovan, and Juan Yepez.
Alec Burleson by Sue Ogrocki via AP Brendan Donovan by Bill Greenblat via UPI, Juan Yepez via Agencies.)
So technically we have numbers but is there a combination that you can point to and say THAT is a championship OF?
Burleson had a small sample size (48 ABs) .188/.264/.271 1 HR, 3 RBIs. So it is hard to see how he fits right now.
Donovan is such a versatile athlete, moving him to the outfield as they did Tommy Edman is not any kind of a stretch. Yepez is probably the least defensively adept of the three. He is not terrible but the others ARE better. I don't see him as a frequent option in the Outfield and I see him more as a possible DH candidate and First Base backup for Paul Goldschmidt.
So where does that leave you? Just one injury shy of a disaster.
Now some are pointing to two hot prospects in Moises Gomez(24) and Jordan Walker(20).
Moises Gomez is a right-hand hitter, who was released by the Tampa Bay rays in 2021 he was signed to a minor league deal by St Louis. He split time between Springfield and Memphis. All he did was mash .294/.371/.624 39 Hrs and 94 RBIs. With that performance, the Cardinals quickly purchased his contract and placed him on the 40-man roster. Gomez is 24 and a natural OF, he has spent most of his time in Right Field and has also has been a DH in the minors. I don't see him taking many ABs in the DH slot. I do see him getting the opportunity to make the team out of Spring Training.
Jordan Walker, a right-handed hitter was drafted by the Cardinals as a Third Baseman in 2020 and did not have a normal Rookie ball season. He has rocketed up the ranks going from A ball in Palm Beach to High A ball in Peoria and then to AA Springfield in two years. at AA this year he hit .306/.388/.510 19 HRs and 69 RBIs and stole 22 bases in 119 games. There are many analysts who say his bat is ready for the big leagues in 2023. but With 10-time gold glove winner Nolan Arenado at 3B Walker has been moved to the outfield. More specifically Right Field whereby all reports he has performed very well. But is he ready for the big time? Can he make the jump from AA to the Major Leagues? Many analysts outside of the Cardinal organization say he is a can't-miss and will be in MLB in 2023. At only 20 given his rise and projection, I think this kid could be as much of a generational talent as people claim Juan Soto is and a better fielder. My prediction and I will stand by it.
ARE THERE OUTSIDE OPTIONS?
While there are outside options there are not many.
You have Aaron Judge Whose Market value is almost $38 Million per year and it is being reported 8-year time span you are talking about a $300+ Million dollar hit. That is a neighborhood I don't see the Cardinals moving into. After that, the pickings get really slim, really fast.
Mitch Haniger Free Agent from the Seatlle Mariners - he is 31 and a righthanded batter. Who, when healthy does project into the between .260 and .280 25 Hrs and close to 90 RBIs. Now he is an Average to slightly above-average RF, who can also play First and third. But even given that it would be hard to see that the Cards would have a big interest in him for the Outfield but maybe DH. But I think they really would like a LH power bat. foer at least on of those spots and IF they decide to go with Yepez at DH. Then I see them looking for a switch hitter or left-hand bat. but he is really the only Free Agent that would make any sense to add in terms of Right Field.
One trade option could be Anthony Santander(28) of the Baltimore Orioles Who had a bust-out season in 22 Of sorts .240/.318/.455 with 33 HRs, and 89 RBIs. Santander is a Switch Hitter. He is a better hitter from the Left side in terms of BA/OBP/Slg but he has more power from the right side with 31 more Homers from the right side. The Orioles need help in many places and with what they dealt away at the deadline this year they seem to be in rebuild mode. I think they would take say high starter prospects like say, Matthew Liberatore, Andre Pallente maybe Tink Hence or Connor Thomas. they might even ask for say Jack Flaherty or even a Dakota Hudson plus lower prospects. They might even look at bullpen help like Jordan Hicks
The Cardinals recently just signed Oscar Mercado to a minor league deal.
One other guy they might bring back is going to cost them more would be Adolis Garcia(29) RF from the Texas Rangers. Garcia is a right-hander, and he has historically struggled against lefties..251/.298/.462 40 Homers and 131 RBIs vs Righties. .227/.274/.424 18 Home Runs and 61 RBIs against the Southpaws. I don't know if they have any interest or not but were I the Cardinals and want to look for a proven bat. I am at least inquiring if it is possible to arrange a reunion. He will come with a price and prospects will play a big part. I am sure names like Winn,
Now if Mo could work the voodoo magic that he has used to get Goldy, Nado, and the past deadline deals of Quintana and Montgomery. There are a couple of these guys who would work well as DH.
This guy makes sense
There are some guys who St. Louis could go after for DH like Justin Turner(37) of the Los Angeles Dodgers .270/.350/.438 only 13 HRs, but 36 doubles which resulted in 81 RBIs. Now he has more power vs RH pitchers than lefties but he hits almost the same average and OBP .279/.352 vs RHP, .275/.345 vs LHP. Much would depend on if he would accept the DH role.
One guy I would like to get
IF, he would agree to be the DH I would look at, Josh Bell(30) of the San Diego Padres. he is a switch hitter. Now granted when he got to San Diego he basically crapped his pants. When he left Washington he was hitting .301/.384/.493 14 Home Runs, 57 RBIs. With the Padres .192/.316/.271 3 Home Runs, 14 RBIs. I think if you put him in the right spot say #5 he becomes good protection for Nado. but does he want to be a DH? That is question 1 and would the Cardinals entertain such an idea is question 2.
A lot of fans keep bringing up Andrew Benintendi(28) from the New York Yankees, he is a left-handed bat but not what you would consider a power bat. 15-20 Home Runs. Career-wise he hits well .279/.351/.431 He hits a little better against righties that Lefties. But like Turner, he has significantly better power vs the right-handers than Left handers. There is also the fact he has spent significant time on the IL over the last few years.
I do think it unlikely that the Cardinals make a big play for guys like Bell or Garcia. Much will depend on how they handle the catching situation. I also think they will give O'Niell, Nootbaar, and Carlson. every opportunity to benthe starting outfield. Plus I think they will want to see what Walker nad Gomez have to offer. But If it were me I would be talking to the Orioles and Justin Turner's agent, just to hedge my bet.
Well, thanks for reading.
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