The St. Louis Cardinals are not likely to go out and make a big splash in the trade market. The need for more offense will have to come from within. The obvious answers to fixing the offense will be Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter returning to their career norms. Eventually you would assume they will improve but what else can the Cardinals do to improve the offense right now?
Call up Tyler O’Neill and Play Him
Tyler O’Neill has strikeout issues. It’s been talked about for what seems like years. What O’Neill brings to the table is instant offense. 557 career minor league games O’Neill has 137 bombs as well as a .556 slugging percentage. The Cardinals rank bottom five in Isolated Power and Slugging Percentage behind teams like the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Cardinals outfield have (or had) one guaranteed spot taken with Marcell Ozuna playing closer to the All-Star form of 2017. Dexter Fowler and Jose Martinez have had moments where each have shown that they are capable taking over right field long-term, but those moments are becoming rare. Harrison Bader’s defense has been the only thing keeping him in the lineup his .208/.324/.384 numbers can’t be hidden behind his defense.
O’Neill has to be given a chance to play every day for at least a few weeks, if he can’t supply the offense that is needed the worst thing that happen is adding another strikeout to a lineup that is already proficient in that category. Jose Martinez would provide more value late in pinch hitting situations and Dexter Fowler can split time with Bader depending on the matchup up.
Kolten Wong can’t play against lefties, especially at home.
Kolten Wong has always been a player I thought was going to break out. In April Wong looked like this was the season he was going to live up to the expectations. Quickly Wong has come back down to earth. Wong has been incredibly miserable at the plate in St. Louis, sporting a .198 batting average to go along with a wRC+ of 48. Wong’s defense has been elite but with the offense struggling the way it is something has to change. Matt Carpenter has been sitting recently but that has not made changes to the offense, the next likely candidate to hit the bench would be Kolten Wong.
Tommy Edman and Yairo Munoz would be the likely candidates to step in for Kolten. Edman jumped onto the scene getting 8 hits in 24 at bats to begin his career mixing in a homer and two stolen bases. Munoz has dealt with some injuries to start the season which has limited his usage to start the season. In 2018 though Munoz surprised me with a .350 OBP, the usually prevalent free swinger was able to get on base more often than Wong while also providing more power in the middle or end of the lineup.
Yadi needs to be seventh and no higher.
St. Louis fans love of Yadier Molina has blinded them to his offensive inefficiencies. Yadier Molina is sporting an .662 OPS while still being put into the middle of the order on most nights. Regression is going to happen as players get older, Yadi was fighting the endless battle against time for the last few years and coming out on top. His age coupled with a thumb injury that sidelined him for a few weeks have begun to hamper the future hall of famer. While his presence in the lineup is still crucial from a leadership standpoint, the Cardinals front office has to look past the aura of career greatness and focus on the facts. Molina is not hitting. He has not hit for most of the season. Continuing to put him in the middle of the lineup is a mistake that is easily correctable by the simple use of a pencil and an eraser. Yadier Molins is a seven-hole hitter until he gives a reason not to be.
Batting Molina 7thleaves you with ability to have Bader or Wong batting in the 8th hole in a bunt situation leading off an inning. Yadi’s thumb may heal and he gets back to the solid major league hitter we have seen over the last 5 seasons, for now he has to be moved.