Cardinals trades that won’t happen but should.

Clint Frazier, New York Yankees

The Yankees are stacked with outfielders.  They could use some pitching depth.  The Cardinals are stacked with you pitchers and could really use some power in the outfield. Frazier is coming off of his best season in the bigs.  Filling in for Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge for a bulk of his shortened season, Frazier was able to finally show off the skills that had once rated him as one of the top offensive prospects in all of baseball. 

Frazier, 26, is still very young and can immediately be an impact bat in the middle of the Cardinals offense. Playing in 39 games in 2020, Frazier hit 8 homers with an ISO of .244.  Frazier’s power is the real deal, he hit 12 homers in just 69 games in 2019. He has shown an ability to continue to develop as he was able to have a career high .387 OBP this season while getting a nomination for the gold glove.  

The Cardinals could have a chance to grab a talented young hitter that is ready to get full time at bats.  The Yankees may not have the interest they once did in Carlos Martinez but a package of Martinez and another young hurler could be enough to grab Frazier.  This would be a win for both clubs.  

There is no reason not to go after Frazier.  The only argument anyone could make is that he is unproven long term.  Well all players are at some point and he has had a lot more success at the major league level than O’Neil, Bader, Thomas or Justin Williams.  

Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies

Why does everyone always talk about the Cardinals getting Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor?  What about Trevor Story. Like Lindor, Story is a free agent to be in after the 2021 season.  The Rockies likely will look to move Story for some assets if they think they will not be able to resign him. His abilities have been overshadowed by his fellow left side of the infield partner Arenado but his numbers match up very well.  Story has added speed to the arsenal over the last three seasons.  He actually led the league in steals in 2020 with 15.  

The power is what will attract potential suitors.  His numbers away from Coors have not been great but his six homers in opposing parks last season show that the power will travel.  It’s time for the Cardinals to move on from the Paul DeJong experiment.  While Lindor seems to be the popular choice Story could come at a cheaper price.  

Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals

Whit Merrifield is insanely underpaid. He signed a 4-year extension in 2020 worth just $16.25 million.  Kansas City is still a few years away from being truly competitive in the American League.  They have an asset in Merrifield that they can move for some serious pieces to complete their full rebuild.  Merrifield is a perfect fit for the Cardinals at the top of the order.  Putting him in front of Golschmidt will immediately be a step up from Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman.  

Merrifield has been on the market for most of his career in Kansas City.  They are running out of time to move him for top value and could be pressed to do so soon.  The Cardinals could get a guy that led the league in hits in 2019, two straight years of an OPS of .800 while stealing 111 bases since his debut in 2017.  Merrifield is a hit machine that is the answer for a leadoff spot that has lacked consistency. 

Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Cardinals were able to raid the Arizona selling spree two years ago by adding Paul Goldschmidt.  There is a new star that Arizona may have lost faith in last year, Ketel Marte.  Marte was not the same player in 2020.  Coming off of a career year in 2019 a lot was expected of Marte.  The Diamondbacks dealt with inconsistencies in the lineup and rotation.  Marte and the rest of the team were never able to overcome their slow start.  

Marte fits into a similar mold as the aforementioned Merrifield but his youth and potential make him a potential steal.  Marte has not been given a chance to excel on a winning team where he is protected in the lineup.  Putting him in front of Goldschimdt will force opposing pitchers to throw to challenge him and when he makes contact the results have spoken for themselves.    

Marte is locked in to a serviceable contract that will at its max pay him just $12million in the final year. The contract is affordable and will finish in his age 30 season in 2024.  He is cheap and has a ceiling that is vastly higher than any option the Cardinals currently have.

Top 7 Offensive 2nd Baseman in MLB

When I was a kid second base was my favorite position.  I grew up idolizing Delino Deshields, Fernando Vina and Craig Biggio.  The best part about second base is that you can be a little out of shape but still are a good athlete, you can have some power but don’t have to hit 35 homers.  A great second baseman is like having a wild card that can take a team from good to great. I want to break down the best offensive second baseman heading into 2020.  The players I have on this list are projected to be primarily second baseman this year. Guys like Javier Baez, Matt Carpenter (lol), Jose Ramirez and one of my favorites Gleyber Torres are not actually going to be 2nd baseman this season.  Why top seven? Why not? Let’s do it.

7. Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals

Wong is the best defensive second baseman in baseball. He had not lived up to his hype as a prospect on the offensive end until the 2019 season.  His slash line of .285/.361/.423 were all career highs. Wong added speed to his repertoire in 2019 with 24 stolen bases.  

Entering the 2020 season the Cardinals will be relying on a lot of youth including Tyler O’Neil, Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader to pick up the slack of the departed Marcell Ozuna.  Wong, now a veteran by those standards will hopefully be placed in the upper part of the order giving him the chance to produce in more areas. His power numbers are not nearly on the level of others on the list but he can be an above average major league hitter.

6. Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays

Brandon Lowe only played in 82 games in 2019.  In that amount of time he performed beyond what anyone could have imagined.  Lowe’s .336 on-base percentage is a little lower than I would like to see from a projected leadoff hitter but his power is hard to ignore.  Lowe’s slugging percentage was .514 was one of the tops at the position. A healthy Lowe should be a candidate for 30 homers. His strikeout rate is worrisome but the more at bats he gets while healthy the better he will be. 

Lowe needs to get better at hitting lefties and reduce the strikeouts but he has the ability to be an impact performer if able to stay healthy. 

5. DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees

This would have been the spot for Gleyber Torres but with his move to full time SS LeMahieu jumps to this spot.  I love DJ, he brings stability to the top of a lineup. LeMahieu had what could be considered a career season. I know he won a batting title in 2016 but DJ had not hit over 66 RBI in a season before 2019.  LeMahieu showed unprecedented power last season, it would be hard to believe that he could do repeat the numbers with RISP but DJ still plays in a baby ballpark and should have a solid season.

4. Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves

Ozzie Albies is just 23 years old! A lot of the talk in the league was about Ronald Acuna, as it should be, but the emergence of Albies.  While being grossly underpaid Albies performed like a future star in 2019 especially down the stretch, hitting .302 in the second half. Albies great second half propelled the Braves, allowing them to dominate the National League East.

Albies will enter the season with high expectations.  He brings multiple tools to the table, power, speed and switch hitting. Albies has a shot to be a 20/20 player while hitting over .300.  At such a young age he will only be able to improve as the years go on.

3. Keston Huira, Milwaukee Brewers

Keston will be #1 by the end of the season, but going into the season I have to take into account the potential of a sophmore slump.  Hiura’s 30% strikeout rate scares me a bit but the power he brings is legit and he will have back the protection of Christian Yelich. Assuming he will hit behind Yelich there is no way that teams will elect to face the former MVP over the second year player. 

Hiura’s power is legit and he smashes at Miller Park. Hiura added nine steals to his 19 dingers and 50 runs scored in only 84 games last season. 

2. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

Jose Altuve is under a lot of scrutiny.  But we have to ignore that when you are ranking, all I am looking at is the 37 bombs Altuve hit last season.  Altuve is still on 29 years old despite the fact that it feels like he has been playing for a lifetime. Altuve’s power versus righties was the most impressive feat of all.  20 of Altuve’s 31 homers were against righties, with a slugging percentage of .505.  

Altuve’s home and away splits were obviously different but he still was above the norm with a 119 WRC+.  Altuve will have to ignore the press that comes with the sign stealing scandal. The Astros lineup is still stacked and should provide the protection he needs to succeed on the offensive end.

1. Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

Picking up Starling Marte allows us to get excited about the possibility of potentially the best all around player in baseball (other than Mike Trout) getting cemented at the position of the gods second base.  Marte is an all around hitter with a slash line that put him right in the middle of the NL MVP race .329/.389/.592 and a 150 WRC+.  

Ketel still projects as the potential leadoff hitter for Arizona due to Starling Marte’s lackluster OBP.  If Starling is able to move into the leadoff role Ketel should be able to thrive with speed on the base paths.  Marte at #1 may seem odd but this guy at just 26 has worked his way up from promising prospect to legit MLB star.