Gauging possible offseason trade partners for the St. Louis Cardinals

Jose Martinez was one of the best Cardinal hitters in 2018 but is a tough fit on defense and could be on the move this offseason.(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS, MO- Missing the postseason for the third consecutive year gives the Cardinals organization and fans some extra time to focus on moves to improve during the offseason. If we all agree that the odds of reeling in big free agent solutions like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are at the very least not entirely favorable, then it is only prudent to see what else is available via the trade market. It’s a safe bet that everyone will want to take a bite out of the organization’s pitching depth in return.

Yankees: As we’ve suggested before, if the Yankees end up with Machado, they would have to decide what to do with Didi Gregorius, (Rookie of the Year contender) Miguel Andujar or possibly Gleybar Torres, any of whom would look great somewhere on the left side of the Busch Stadium infield.  Gary Sanchez’s performance behind the plate has left a lot to be desired, so New York could be a destination for Carson Kelly in a package.

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt watches a hit. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Diamondbacks: Arizona has some decisions to make about the franchise’s direction. The Diamondbacks reached the Divisional Round in 2017 where they were swept  by the Dodgers. In 2018, the team led the NL West for much of the year and then fell flat once September came. It should be noted that the Dodgers and Rockies spent much of the season trying to figure things out before each kicked it into overdrive in the season’s final weeks. Having said that, Arizona could lose pitcher Patrick Corbin and OF AJ Pollock to free agency (and possibly to St. Louis). Paul Goldschmidt will be entering the final year of his contract. Do they look to see what they can get for him?  If the answer is yes, the Cardinals would be wise to kick the tires.

Rangers: To say that the Texas pitching staff was bad in 2018 would be an understatement. Only one pitcher (Mike Minor) reached double-digit wins.  Their third leading winner was 45 year-old Bartolo Colon (seven).  The team’s best available asset? Outfielder/1B/3B Joey Gallo. He is the big bat, with back-to-back seasons with more than 40 home runs. Let’s be up front about this. He also strikes out. A lot. Over his four year career he’s averaged more than 200 per 162 games. But here’s what I like besides the power: He’s young, lefthanded, can play multiple positions (third base or right field in 2019, Left field in 2020 if Ozuna leaves, first base in 2021 if Matt Carpenter is no longer here after his current contract. Heck, do the Rangers ask for Carpenter in return? He’s a Texas native who went to TCU in Fort Worth so there could be some attraction. Worth noting too that Memphis manager Stubby Clapp is managing some of the Rangers’ top prospects in the Arizona Fall League (along with St. Louis and Toronto talent). If Clapp were to get either of the open managerial jobs in Toronto or Texas he’d certainly bring some inside insight into who his new club would want in return from St. Louis.

Mets: Along the same lines of the Clapp situation, Cardinals executive Gary LaRocque is one of the many names floating around New York’s search for a new GM. He spent roughly 10 years in the Mets organization before joining the Cardinals. Right now, it’s hard to see why they would move pitchers like Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, which would be the prime Major League assets of interest to a team like St. Louis. As the current Director of Player Development for the Cardinals, LaRocque would be uniquely acquainted with the assets available in the organization if he moved to Queens. Regardless, this could be another landing spot for Carson Kelly in a deal.

In addition to the Cardinals’ abundance of pitching, almost every American League team looking for a DH option will check with the Cardinals on Jose Martinez, and it seems like in addition to the Blue Jays, the Cardinals seem to like making deals annually with the Mariners and Indians, so don’t count them out either.