The 3 Best Players the Cardinals Should be Interested in this Off-season and Why

By: Faron Peterson @faronPJR

There are many players the St. Louis Cardinals should be interested in this offseason if they want to improve upon 2018. We could go down the list and talk about the second or third tier players they could go after, but we've seen that show before in Dexter Fowler, Mike Leake, Brett Cecil, etc.

We could also talk about the pitching needs that this team has which includes a desperate need at closer and a shutdown lefty out of the pen, but we'll save that for another time.

Today let's take a look at the 3 best players the Cardinals should consider this offseason and why they make the most sense.

1) Bryce Harper

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

Harper is arguably the most sought-after free agent on the market at this time and he is the perfect fit for the Cardinals. Let me explain.

Not only is he a middle of the order bat, but he's also a power lefty, both of which the Cardinals have needed desperately the last few seasons with this right-heavy lineup. St. Louis has lacked a legitimate superstar ever since Albert Pujols left for the Angels and Harper would fill that role without question. He would help this team on and off the field.

We all know Harper had a down season in 2018 after batting .249, 34 home runs and 100 RBI's, and yes that's considered a down season for him, but he's undoubtedly one of the most feared hitters in the game. At only 26 years old, some argue he hasn't entered his prime yet, just another reason why the Cardinals shouldn't be afraid to throw 10-12 years and $400 million at him. So Mo, don't go cheap this offseason and tell the fans you tried your best to sign him. After all, there are 29 other teams that would love to have him on their roster.

2) Manny Machado

Photo Credit: Gary A Vasquez - USA Today Sports

During the postseason, Machado seemed to be in the news for all the wrong reasons. Whether that be his "dirty play" against the Brewers or his comments about not hustling. In both instances, fans seemed to have been rubbed the wrong way by his choice of words or style of play.

Put all that aside if you will, and what type of player do you have?

Machado is a Gold Glove defender on the left side of the infield and will give you 35 home runs and 100 RBI's, all while batting .290. Bat him in the #3 spot on this Cardinals team and you have a potential MVP candidate for years to come. And like Harper, he's only 26 years old and has plenty of successful seasons ahead.

If the Cardinals were to sign Machado, he would play shortstop which would then allow Paul DeJong to slide over to his natural position at third base, making our defense that much better.

3) Paul Goldschmidt

Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill - AP 

Prior to Josh Donaldson signing with the Braves, Donaldson would have been option three and I would have left Goldschmidt off this list for a few reasons. I'll get into that, but first I'll explain why he made the list at number three.

If the Cardinals fail to sign Harper and Machado, they have to go after Goldy. Otherwise, I could see Cardinals fans lining up outside Busch Stadium with pitchforks in hand. Not that I would be one of those fans, but you can sense it in the air. The fans are desperate for a star player to bat in front of Marcell Ozuna.

It has already been reported that the Diamondbacks and the Cardinals have had discussions involving Goldschmidt during the GM Meetings, so we know there is interest from the Cardinals side and Arizona is at least willing to move him.

There are positives and negatives when it comes to trading for a guy like Goldschmidt. He is under contract for the 2019 season, then he will hit free agency at age 32. So you would think his age and contract situation would play into the Cardinals favor when it comes to trade value. If I were Mo, I would be fine offering one good prospect such as Dakota Hudson or Ryan Helsley and maybe throw in a middle to lower tier guy to make the trade happen, or offer a few lower tier prospects, if Arizona would even consider lower tier players. But I wouldn't give away too much especially when you have more talented and younger players available in Machado and Harper with whom you only have to throw money at, not money and prospects, and that's all the more reason to go all in on those two.

Goldschmidt has been one of the best and most reliable hitters in the NL since 2013. If the Cardinals trade for him, you should expect to get at a Gold Glove caliber first baseman that will hit around .300, give you 30 home runs and around 100 RBI's for the next few seasons.

Goldy will be looking for a big payday at an older age when he becomes a free agent at the end of next season. We're talking $125 million over 5 years for a player that is 32 years old and moving out of his prime years.

So, would you rather pay a 32 year old $125 million over 5 years taking him to age 37, or pay a more talented 26-year-old superstar $30 million per season over the next 10 years and have him until age 36? I'd go with the latter.

To sum it up, this team does not need another band-aid fix for next season. What this team needs is a bonafide superstar. A middle of the order bat to put in front of Ozuna. A new face of the franchise.

It's time for Bill DeWitt Jr to finally open up his checkbook and get this team the player it needs.

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