Offseason Tracker and Analysis: St.Louis Cardinals

Considering that they barely had a winning record at the end of the first half, the fact that the Cardinals make it to the NLCS is certainly an accomplishment. It’s been reported that they don’t have much room to spend this offseason, so perhaps this will be a quiet offseason. Still, doing so could compromise their chances in the NL Central- I doubt they don’t make any impact moves.

Expected Direction: Trying To Contend For The World Series Next Season

Cardinals Resign SP Adam Wainwright

Photo Cred: MLB- NBC Sports

Contract Details: One Year, $5 Million

Grade: 7.5/10

In an expected move, the Cardinals have extended starting pitcher Adam Wainwright’s long tenure with the club, bringing him back on a one year deal worth $5 million, but with another $5 million in incentives. The 38-year-old isn’t anything special, but with a 4.39 xFIP and 48.8% ground ball rate, he still holds value at the back-end of a rotation. If the incentives are attainable through innings pitched though, it is a decent chunk of money for a team that has claimed to have little to spend this offseason- this is a deal that surprisingly favors Wainwright, considering he had zero leverage.

Cardinals Sign LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim

Photo Cred: AP News

Contract Details: Two Years, $8 Million ($1.5 Million In Incentives)

Grade: 8/10

Hoping to add some pitching depth, the Cardinals have made an international signing, bringing in Kwang-Hyun Kim on a two-year contract worth $8 million. Kim, 31, has been a top performer in South Korea for several years, and that included a great 2019 campaign, in which he posted a 2.51 ERA and 4.74 K-BB ratio in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). Notably, the offense was down in the KBO, so those numbers aren’t as impressive, but still, Kim should be a solid swingman/#5 starting pitcher, which is important for St.Louis, who lack options at the back-end of their rotation.

Cardinals Acquire LHP Matthew Liberatore From Rays

MILB: JUL 06 Gulf Coast League - GCL Orioles at GCL Rays
Photo Cred: Off The Bench Baseball

Full Trade: Cardinals Acquire LHP Matthew Liberatore, C Edgardo Rodriguez, Competitive Balance Round B Pick In Exchange For OF Jose Martinez, OF Randy Arozarena, and Competitive Balance Round A Pick

Grade: 9.5/10

The Cardinals made a very complicated trade with the Rays on Thursday, but here’s the main takeaway- they acquired high-end pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore and low-level catching prospect Edgardo Rodriguez from the Rays for outfielders Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena, and will move down 40 spots in the upcoming draft. Liberatore, 20, was considered one of the best players in the 2018 draft, and after falling to the 16th overall pick to the Rays, has already reached Single-A. He now becomes the Cardinals’ best pitching prospect, and possibly their best prospect, and whether they trade him or keep him (which they should do), he’s a huge acquisition. As for the 19-year-old Rodriguez, he’s clearly a throw-in, but still, he’s cited as a solid hitter, so maybe he can one day reach the majors as a backup. Nevertheless, St.Louis acquires one of the best pitching prospects in baseball for two outfielders that weren’t in their plans and a non-consequential move down in the draft; it’s scary to make trades with the Rays, but this was a no-brainer for them.

Cardinals Sign C Matt Wieters

Photo Cred: MLB Trade Rumors

Contract Details: One Year, $2 Million ($1 Million Incentives)

Grade: 5.5/10

The Cardinals have long had an interest in re-signing veteran catcher Matt Wieters, and they’ve finally made good on it, bringing him back on a one-year contract worth $2 million and with an extra $1 million in incentives. It’s strange that St.Louis was so intent on bringing back Wieters- the 33-year-old was worth -0.3 WAR last season. Now, his 48.3% hard contact and .223 BABIP could hint at some future offensive improvement, but that’s not what Baseball Savant’s expected statistics project. Plus, there’s the matter of his below-average defense, which has been an issue for several seasons. Perhaps Wieters is a nice presence in the clubhouse, but nevertheless, this is a team that apparently is on a tight budget, yet they’re paying legitimate money for Wieters to complete a task that prospect Andrew Knizner could easily do.

Cardinals Sign UTIL Brad Miller

Photo Cred: St.Louis Post-Dispatch

Contract Details: One Year, $2 Million

Grade: 9/10

The Cardinals have been looking for some left-handed power, and it appears they’ve found it- they signed infielder Brad Miller to a one-year, $2 million contract. Miller, 30, was once a very productive player in the mid-2010s, but following a decent 2016 campaign, his production fell off a cliff. Yet, after being brought in by the Phillies last season, he finally got back on track, posting a 1.2 WAR and 126 wrc+ in 79 games. It’s easy to see why Miller was able to improve- he increased his launch angle, chased fewer pitches, and had a much higher average exit velocity. Furthermore, he absolutely mashed righties (137 wrc+) last season, so as long as he only is used in a platoon role, he should find success. The Cardinals have a lot of right-handed hitters, and as mentioned before, their bench needed a powerful lefty capable of playing multiple positions. It’s a good fit for both the player and team, and for St.Louis, they’re able to fill a need at a very cheap cost.

*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Cardinals Make

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