The St. Louis Cardinals are at the forefront of almost all offseason talks. Bryce Harper, Andrew Miller, Craig Kimbrel, Michael Brantley and basically anyone that has a pulse have been referenced as potential pickups. The Cardinals have also been linked as a potential trade candidate for Diamondbacks Star Paul Goldschimdt. If any of these scenarios were not to play out there are a few options that would make a lot of sense for Mo and Girsch to look into.
Kirby Yates, RP, San Diego Padres
The Cardinals have made it apparent that they are in need of a swing and miss pitcher at the backend of their bullpen. Yates has quietly been one of the most consistent relievers for a bullpen that has been widely underrated. Yates has posted a staggering 29.% K-BB ranking him 7th among all pitchers that have pitched 40 innings or more. He has two pitches that cause above average swing and miss rates, his split-change (45.9%) and slider (44%).
Yates can fit right into the Cardinals bullpen as a late inning reliever and potential closer. His contract is also very team friendly as he is controlled until the 2020 season. The Padres have an asset that they can move for more young talent that can help continue their rebuild . Yates at 31 years old is not a player that the Padres are looking to build anything around. Take advantage of the situation and get your self a swing and miss pitcher.
Justin Smoak, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays
Like the Padres, the Blue Jays are looking at a rebuild. Rowdy Tellez showed that he is ready for the majors. That means Smoak will be on his way out. Cardinals fans will have their issues with the Smoak pick up. Known more for his inconsistency after being a highly touted prospect, Smoak followed up a breakout 2017 season with a respectable 2018 season. Smoak also brings a switching hitting aspect to his game, more effectively from the left side (A need for the Cardinals), from the left side Smoak excelled with a .867 OPS, hitting 20 of his 25 homers.
Smoak doesn’t bring much with the glove sitting at about league average over the last four seasons in defensive runs saved. A team in need of offense, however, could be willing to overlook these drawbacks for a switch-hitter who has created 28 percent more runs (128 wRC+) than the average big league hitter over the last two seasons.The 31-year-old has an .854 OPS and 62 homers over the last two seasons. Good stuff for a guy whose 2019 club option will only pay out $8 million.
David Peralta, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks have a litany of great players up for grabs. The most underrated of them all could be Outfielder David Peralta. Peralta has seen a jump in power statistics in 2018.
The increases led to the most productive season of Peralta’s career. Peralta has his issues most notably with left-handed pitching, hitting only .237 against southpaws. It got to the point that Peralta had become a platoon player for the D-Backs. With a $7.7MM arb projection and two years of club control left for a D-backs team that has looked at some degree of rebuild this winter Peralta is a relatively expensive but reliable piece that the Cardinals can make work.
If the Cardinals are committed to moving on from Dexter Fowler in they can look at a platoon of Tyler O’Neil and David Peralta to compliment Marcell Ozuna and Harrison Bader. While a platoon is not ideal Peralta will be able to cover the inefficiencies of Tyler O’Neil.
Adding these three players will not make most fans happy. Cardinal nation is screaming for a big time star. While we wait and see the outcome of MLB’s version of “The Decision”, fans have to understand that maybe the big star the fanbase seeks is not in this years class. Next year Nolan Arenado will be a free agent…..just sayin.