Growing up and living in the outskirts of St. Louis, MO, I have been a Cardinals fan since I was born. Now, I am 24 years old, I have logged a lot of innings to this game; which includes analyzing players and coaching. With that being said, the Cardinal's problems aren't due to coaching--it's due to poor decisions by the General Manager. John "Mo" Mozielak's time as GM needs to come to an end. Here are some moves I should, could, and would do if I were to replace Mozielak:
First, the Cardinals need to fill the blinded void at first base. Matt Carpenter is not a first baseman; I am not quite sure who suggested it, but they should be demoted. As of today, Carpenter has "only" committed 5 errors on the field. However, if you know baseball and understand the position, you would realize he does not look comfortable and does not have a quick hand. Lucky enough, the Cardinals have an option in AAA by the name of Luke Voit--who is a true first baseman. The 26-year-old was drafted in the 22nd round by the Cardinals in 2013 and has continued to grow ever since. After being drafted, Voit has posted consistent, and improving, numbers throughout his minor league career. In 2016 for Springfield (AA), he really broke out as a middle-of-the-order bat posting a slash line of .297/.372/.477 while accumulating 143 hits in 134 games. Now he is the starting first baseman for Memphis, still not on the 40-man roster, but isn't letting that phase him. Voit continues to progress as he carries a .317/.398/.554 slash line--which are top 20 numbers in all of AAA. If I am the GM, I am not waiting another minute with this aging first baseman--I would absolutely make room on the 40-man roster and give him the at-bats at the major league level.
Second, I would realize that National League teams are stacked this year--and the Cardinals are not. Everything from inconsistency on the mound to the common struggles at the plate will not be enough to fend off teams like the Cubs, Rockies, Nationals, Dodgers, or even the emerging D'backs. Since I understand the league, I should probably consider opening the phonebook and reach out to teams about trade possibilities. July is coming up quick, why wait? Spark the interest in suitors now so deals aren't rushed and can be countered throughout the remaining weeks. Considering Mozielak spent $82.5 million over a 5-year span for Fowler, I should consider adding Carpenter to the trading block. Although Fowler had a slow start at the lead-off role, he does not belong in the 3, 4, or 5 hole in the lineup. Considering Carpenter is beginning to return to his normal self at the leadoff role, his stock should begin to climb. An interesting suitor would be a team St. Louis is familiar to--the Boston Red Sox. With a plethora of talent in the minors, they could be a good match to package SP with Carpenter--who is versatile on the field. I would like to see in return a solid young bullpen arm with a talented third baseman. An ideal trade would consist of:
BOS receives- INF Matt Carpenter, RHP Michael Wacha, OF/2B Randy Arozarena (#15 STL Prospect), and RHP Zac Gallen (#23 STL Prospect)
Although, I don't see Boston trading away their #1 prospect, it would a table setter to counter offers if they know St. Louis is willing to trade Carpenter and Wacha. For a counter, I would remove Devers and add 3B Michael Chavis (#10 BOS Prospect), and remove Arozarena from the Cardinals side.
In addition to the two players previously mentioned, I would add Seung Hwan Oh, Kevin Siegrist, Randal Grichuk, Kolten Wong, and Greg Garcia to the trading block. More than likely, Oh and Wong would spark the most interest--which means I would package players such as Grichuk and Garcia to clear 40-man roster space. Ideally, Kansas City would be a good fit for Wong and Oh could help the disastrous Washington bullpen. In essence, the following trades would likely have to happen for those two to leave St. Louis.
STL receives- RHP Miguel Almonte (#15 KC Prospect), C Sebastian Rivero (#30 KC Prospect)
Of course, if one of these trades were to stick, it would effect other trade ideas--but, I would begin the "fire sale" and look to stock up on prospects.
Ok, moving on to the players the Cardinals currently have and a more realistic analysis of the team. I still would like to move Carpenter via trade, but either way, Voit would fill multiple roles for the major league squad. He would provide a solid middle-of-the-order bat, along with 1B experience and depth. To make room for Voit, I would DFA Huffman--listen, he's 32-years-old and before this year, he hasn't played in the majors since 2010. The only reason he is even on the team is because of Matt Carpenter being childhood friends with him. Next, I would DFA Breyvic Valera, Sean Gilmartin, and Greg Garcia to add RHP Mark Montgomery (38.1 IP, 2.58 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 46 K, 8 BB), 3B Patrick Wisdom (65-244 with 15 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR), and OF Harrison Bader (.295/.351/.496 with 15 2B, 12 HR). Then, I would promote MLB's top catching prospect, Carson Kelly, and have him visually learn from Molina. I would also consider moving Wacha or Wainwright to the bullpen, send down Tuivailala, and promote Luke Weaver to the Cardinals' rotation.
The Cardinals are not a playoff team right now, not this year. In the off-season, the front office needs to reevaluate which players should and should not be on the 40-man rotation because 2017 is a mess due to poor structuring. To end on a positive note, I am looking forward to the starting pitching in the near future, along with INF Paul DeJong, OF Magneuris Sierra, and C Carson Kelly. It will be interesting to see what the actual GM, Mozielak, will do (or not do) come the trade deadline. Either way, positive future ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals.
My Ideal Depth Chart Breakdown:
1. Fowler CF BN: J. Martinez (1B/OF) 2. Diaz SS C. Kelly (C)
3. Piscotty RF K. Wong (2B/OF)
4. Voit 1B J. Gyorko (INF)
5. Wisdom 3B M. Sierra (OF) 6. Molina C
7. DeJong 2B
8. Bader LF
SP- C. Martinez, Lynn, Leake, Weaver, Wainwright/Wacha (4RP)