Thursday, December 6, 2018

After blockbuster trade for Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals fans still want more.

As you may have heard, the St. Louis Cardinals pulled off a big trade yesterday, acquiring Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a few spare parts. 

That's not to belittle Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly or Andy Young (or the compensation draft pick) that the Cardinals gave up for Goldschmidt.  They could very well end up becoming All-Stars for Arizona for years to come.  

However, it was pretty obvious that the Cardinals did not see any of these players as an integral part of their 2019 or future plans:  Weaver struggled last year and was demoted to the pen, Kelly may have been surpassed by Andrew Knizer as the Cardinals catcher of the future, and no one had probably heard of Young prior to this trade.

While that was an excellent get by the Cards and one that should help the team's offense and defense for 2019, what concerned most Cardinals fans was the news that came out shortly after.

According to Jennifer Langosch, despite "substantial financial flexibility", the Cards will not pursue Bryce Harper and will instead turn their attention to other needs.


Yes, you heard that correctly.  The Cardinals have the wherewithal to pursue another difference maker in Harper, but are already pulling themselves out of the race.

Granted, this could just be a smoke screen by the Cards.  A means of trying to lower Harper's asking price.  But, if it is not, it makes one wonder just how committed to winning the Cardinals really are.

The addition of Goldschmidt certainly improves the Cardinals chances for 2019.  But both he and Marcell Ozuna are due to become free agents after next season.  The Cards are certainly hoping to sign one or both of them to an extension, but that is not a given.

The Cardinals, due to their draft position in the mid to late first round each year, are unlikely to acquire a big hitter in the draft.  Thus, their best bet is to either acquire such a bat via trade (like Ozuna and Goldy) or free agency.

Signing a player like Harper would guarantee that the Cardinals have a middle of the order bat locked up for years to come.  Plus it would send a message to the rest of the NL Central that the Cardinals are serious about contending in 2019, not just for the division title but for the World Series.

Signing Harper would give the Cards a formidable lineup for 2019, as well as better lefty/righty balance in the heart of the order.  It would be the kind of bold move that the Cardinals management rarely makes, but one that they should make.

The Cardinals already have Nelly recruiting Harper for them and the addition of Goldschmidt should make the Cards more appealing to Bryce.  It just comes down to whether the Cardinals are willing to pony up what it would take to get him.

Past history and my gut tells me that will not happen.  But one can certainly hope.

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