Unless the Cardinals are more concerned about Adam Wainwright‘s expected recovery and durability than they are letting on, it does not appear as if Lynn is on their list of targets. They’re comfortable entering the season with a rotation of Carlos Martinez, Wacha, Wainwright and Luke Weaver. That fifth spot will be filled by another young pitcher or a short-term stopgap found elsewhere this offseason.
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of moving Wacha to the bullpen, particularly when you consider how effective his two-pitch mix (changeup and fastball) could be in a short stint. We’ve also seen a multi-year trend in which he struggles the second and third times through the order as a starter. That being said, the Cardinals have not indicated that they’re considering such a move for next season.
Who are the starting second and third basemen next season for the Cards?
— Jason R. Basham (@Basham44)
The honest answer is, it’s too early to know. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak made it clear last week that the only position player with a set spot entering 2018 is catcher Yadier Molina. Everyone else could either be supplanted or shifted, depending on the team’s offseason activity. If the Cardinals do not add a middle infielder, Kolten Wong will be back at second. Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter are internal options for third. But as the Cardinals look to add an impact bat, third base is one spot where they could slide such a player in.
Why are people intrigued with Christian Yelich and think he is an option for a middle-of-the-order role?
— Patrick Bauer (@patrickb2317)
He isn’t Giancarlo Stanton, but Yelich is young (25) and has a contract that, based on early career production, he is likely to outperform. Yelich is due to earn $43.25 million over the next four seasons and has a 2022 option worth $15 million. That should cover the prime years of his career. In five seasons with the Marlins, Yelich has been durable and posted a slash line of .290/.369/.432 with an .800 OPS. Plugging him into the outfield would immediately make the Cardinals better.
The question, of course, comes in the cost. How much prospect talent would Miami require in return? You could also argue that Yelich alone would not be enough to transform the Cardinals’ offense. It’s hard to see, however, how he wouldn’t at least improve it.
Is Alex Reyes a guy the Cards would be willing to trade?
— Austin Lipham (@ALizzard72)
The organization’s stance is that they have no such thing as an untouchable player. But I’d say Reyes and Martinez are as close to garnering that distinction as anyone. While there’s always the possibility that another team blows the Cardinals away with an offer for either player, right now the club looks at Reyes as one of the future anchors for its rotation. I don’t suspect he’ll be going anywhere this offseason.
This question was actually asked of Mozeliak in the Cardinals’ end-of-season press conference, so let’s start with his response:
“From an offensive standpoint they are two different hitters,” Mozeliak began. “DeJong has shown he has great plate coverage and has the ability to hit the ball to all fields, but still has that power. When you are sort of comparing the two from last year to now, we are much more confident in where we see DeJong moving forward.”
I’ll add that the area of DeJong’s offensive game that most concerns me is the walk and strikeout rate. DeJong struck out in 30 percent of his at-bats and walked just 21 times in 443 plate appearances. If not corrected, that could lead to some offensive regression. Defensively, however, DeJong was more polished at short than Diaz was as a rookie, so that bodes well moving forward.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.