• Eli Chapman

While Cardinals look over free agent pitchers, a trade thrown in is possible, too?


St. Louis Cardinals executives, CEO Bill DeWitt Jr, along with his son, Pres. Bill DeWitt III, Pres. of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak and GM Mike Girsch are in attendance at the current Baseball Winter Meetings being held in San Diego this week.


Reportedly they have interest in two starting pitchers, free agents, LHP Dallas Keuchel and very recently, possible a part of the LHP Madison Bumgarner sweepstakes.


Also, Cardinals may be looking for a trade to help lift their offense from it's sluggish 2019 season. And to accomplish such, outfielder Tyler O'Neill, along with prospect outfielders Randy Arozarena, Justin Williams, Adolis Garcia and Lane Thomas "may be" - "could be" trade targets for a strong/solid bat.


Since the "rumor' is roaming that Cardinals former leftfielder, free agent Marcell Ozuna, is set to be signed by the Chicago White Sox 'today', they do have a position opening up. (Still the information 'shared' from the Dominican Republic reporters has already been shot down by American reporters like Bruce Levine and Jon Heyman. Two, stateside/Chicago sports writers, who are privy to White Sox news.) By days-end we will find out for sure who is in the know.


Even if the above 'rumor' is true or not, Cardinals are evidently planning to go forward without Ozuna's presence in 2020 (and beyond). What the absence of Ozuna presents was his offensive ability in the clean-up spot of the line-up.


Yes, Cardinals do have internal options with the aforementioned players who are expected to be part of their Spring camp beginning in February next year. "IF" they have not been traded away.


Of those, which would be qualified to take over the #4 spot for the Cardinals?


For those who may not be totally familiar with Cardinals list of player/prospects - I share the following 'food for thought'.


CARDINALS MINOR LEAGUE-MAJOR LEAGUE SHARED ~ OVERVIEW


OF Tyler O'Neill (24) has spent the most time in the majors with the Cardinals from the Memphis Triple-A league. On the "yo-yo" train, so to speak, between Memphis and St. Louis. His debut was April 19, 2018. He played 61 games that season, while logging 60 games in 2019. Last season, even though dealing with injury, he held a .262 BA/.763 OPS/5 HR/16 RBI with 58 total bases. Even though he does possess speed, he only had 3 stolen bases between the two seasons played.


OF Randy Arozarena (24) was briefly with the Cardinals in 2019. Only played in 19 games, but did put together a .300 BA/.891 OPS/1 HR/2 RBI on six hits adding four runs in his brief major league appearances. However, being promoted to Memphis last season, he held a .358/.435/.593/1.028 slashline. with nine stolen bases. In his 64 games played, 88 hits/18-2B/2-3B/12 HR/34 RBI with 146 total bases. He held a 24-48/BB-SO ratio. Arozarena definitely has the potential to make a difference in the majors with his speed, agility and power at the plate which I only see becoming stronger as his career develops.


RF Justin Williams. (24) He had a split season, also, between Cardinals Springfield Double-A and Memphis Triple-A leagues in 2019. With Memphis, he closed his season with a .353 BA/1.045 OPS. In his 36 games with the Redbirds, he punched out 7 HR/26 RBI off 36 hits. He had five doubles while holding a 16-30/BB-SO ratio.


OF Adolis Garcia (26). While O'Neill spent time on the IL in 2019, Garcia was called up from Memphis. He made his MLB debut August 8 with the Cardinals, but only appeared in 21 games and did not overcome the major league pitchers with only a .118 BA. In his defense, much of his time was in the dugout. An occasional chance to get on the field or pinch-hitting. However, spending two and half seasons with Memphis Triple-A, in 2019, he held a decent .253 BA/.828 OPS in his 132 games played. Off 124 hits he had 22-2B/6-3B/32 HR/96 RBI with 254 total bases. However, the 'swing & miss" type of batter. He held a 22-159/BB-SO ratio. Is the potential there, yes, it is. A bit more work on the 'swings and misses', he'll be lethal.


CF Lane Thomas (24) Cardinals prospect wowed fans while winning their respect and devotion in 2019. He was called up from Memphis and made his debut April 7 and stayed for the month holding a slashline of .400/.455/.700/1.155 in his seven games played with ten at-bats. He did not miss a beat playing at the major league level. He, too, was on the 'yo-yo' train between Memphis and St. Louis. His MLB season highlight - August 11 vs the Pirates at Busch Stadium. A rookie grand slam to take the lead in the seventh for a 5 RBI game. That was his third home run with the Cardinals. Then, unfortunately, HBP to his right wrist late August and placed on the 60 day IL as of September 1. But full recovery and expected to be ready for Spring camp come February. He closed his season with the Cardinals with a slashline of .316/.409/.684/1.093. Oh - shake my head he is included on this list, but - baseball is business.


Five solid players in their own respective abilities could be considered at 'trading chips'.


MY STRONG - SOLID PLAYER CHOICE FOR TRADE


Oakland Athletics 3B Matt Chapman (26) and, I feel, would really be a swap-out of sorts. Controlled salaries for controlled salaries. But how many of our Cardinals player/prospects would it take to lure him away from the A's. Am I crazy? Not really. He could very well be our 'clean-up' man.


The one time All Star (2019), he has two consecutive Gold Glove awards and a two consecutive seasons as a MVP contender. Both categories in 2018-2019.


In Chapman's three year career a slashline of .257/.341/.500/.841 in a total of 385 games played. He has logged ~ 74 HR/199 RBI with a 162 game average of 31 HR/84 RBI. In 2019, he had 36 HR/92 RBI. He has slugged out a total of 101-2B/11-3B with 710 total bases over the course of his career. Fielding last season, .981 Fldg%/146 PO/311-A/27 DP...along with nine errors.


Chapman is a solid third baseman. Of course, would he override what Cardinals believe to be 3B Matt Carpenters much improved 2020 campaign. Then, RF/3B Tommy Edman, our tremendous rookie of 2019 (slashline: .304/.350/.500/.850), would reign over rightfield?


All good questions. But financially, no major dent in the Cardinals payroll. But which the above would you give up to bring him on board? And would it take more than two of them? If so, I would say - no deal. But would be interesting to have Chapman on board with our Cardinals.


Baseball Winter Meetings - from what I read, pitching will be Cardinals priority. And with our 'prospective crew" in the wings to prove themselves in the majors, internal selection is a very real possibility for the outfield and offensive help.


Yes, we do need a bat for cleanup .. hands down. But, pitching is going to be very, very important beginning 2020 across the MLB. Personally,


I really don't have player #2 that I would consider for Cardinals clean-up. Yes, I do like Chapman, I believe he would be a good fit with our Cardinals - so maybe that is why my thinking cap has halted.


MLB RULE CHANGE FOR 2020 GOING FORWARD ~ PITCHING AND BATTER MINIMUM.


This coming season going forward ~ pitchers must face a minimum of "3" hitters before being removed from the hill. Which will affect the bullpen 'micro-managing'. Therefore we need starters that absolutely can go deep into games.


Yes, as I have voiced recently, I believe FA LHP Madison Bumgarner is one of those who has the proven ability to go deep. Just sayin'.


Thank you for reading. You may also follow me on Twitter @elichap822.


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