The Cardinals are going to be attached to every big free agent name, or big trade rumor this offseason, aren’t they?
On the heels of multiple reports that they’re heavy into discussions on Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, the Cardinals are now being attached to the biggest free agent pitchers on the market, as well as the possibility of pulling the trigger on a controlled starter trade.
Jon Heyman reports that the Cardinals are in on top free agent starters Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, but are first hoping to make a rotation addition in the trade market before turning to free agency. Being that the Cubs will also be heavy in the market to acquire a controlled starting pitcher, and, like the Cardinals, figure to try to pull it off using young big league position player pieces, the Cardinals could be a little fly in the ointment for the Cubs right now. (Not to mention that the Cubs will at least hang around the periphery of the Arrieta-Darvish talks.)
Alex Cobb also comes in for a mention, and he’s obviously been connected with the Cubs already a great deal this offseason.
The Cardinals, you should know, have a ton of money to work with, a solid pool of prospects, and a fan base that is extremely uneasy with their team having missed the postseason two years in a row. I expect them to be very active this offseason.
Interesting issue with these rumors: a significant rationale for connecting the Cardinals to Stanton rumors is because they have a uniquely talented pool of young pitchers/pitching prospects that are ready to go. It would be a little bit odd to use that pool to acquire Stanton, only to then have to replace it by signing another massive free agent deal or trading away even more young talent. That said, I’m sure in a dream scenario for the Cardinals, they acquire Stanton (and cash) for a young arm or two, and then spin off an outfielder like Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty in a deal for a big league-ready arm. Easier said than done.