Cardinal possibilities

Cardinals fall in NLCS, face offseason with questions


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Dexter Fowler #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds third base after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the second inning at Busch Stadium on September 29, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri.

The 2019 regular season for the Cardinals was full of ups and downs but in the end, they were able to win the Central Division. They were playing in October for the first time in three years. They made magic happen against the Braves in the NLDS by winning game 4 and game 5 in which they scored 11 runs in the first inning. They moved on to the NLCS with confidence but they could never get the bats going against the Nationals starting pitchers and were swept in four. The Cardinal season is freshly over, but this might be one of the busiest off-seasons for the Cardinals’ front office. Let’s start with outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna in the 2019 regular seasons had 29 home runs, 89 RBIs, and had a .243 batting average. Although  Ozuna had 6 more home runs than he did in 2018, his batting average was significantly lower in 2019. The big question this off-season is, do the Cardinals re-sign Ozuna?

Sophomore Evan Genthan said he thinks the Cardinals shouldn’t re-sign Ozuna. 

“Cardinals should not resign Ozuna because he can’t take care of his body,” he said. 

Genthan was referencing Ozuna not training well in the off-season and his rehab for his arm/shoulder didn’t go as expected.

Sophomore David Hornung believes differently.

“I think we should resign Ozuna because he was clutch in the NLDS,” he said.  Ozuna hit two home runs in a do-or-die game 4 and had 5 RBIs in the postseason. 

The Cardinals were ranked 19th in offense during the 2019 regular season. If the Cardinals do or don’t lose Ozuna they need another bat in their lineup.

Sophomore Cody Null has an opinion on who the Cardinals should sign. 

“Cardinals should go and get Josh Donaldson. He is a good, consistent hitter,” he said. Donaldson hit 37 home runs for the Braves and drove in 94 runs. His batting average was .257.

The Cardinals don’t necessarily need a power hitter like Donaldson because Godlshimbt and Dejong hit for power versus hitting for average, but either way, he would be a good edition hitting more home runs than both of them.

Another free agent that would fit the Cardinal’s needs is J.D. Martinez currently playing for the Boston Red Sox. Martinez plays outfield and hit 36 home runs, 105 RBI and has a 304 batting average. The Red Sox would have a hard time letting him go and the Cardinals would have to offer him a big contract, but he would become the best hitter on the Cardinal team with the stats he had in 2019. Martinez is an unrestricted free agent in the 2019 offseason so he can choose to opt-out of his Red Sox contract.

The pitching staff for the Cardinals is a little bit of a question mark. Adam Wainwright, who was one of the Cardinals’ best starting pitchers in the 2019 season, is a free agent. It is difficult to imagine Wainwright finishing his career somewhere else, but the real question is if he will come out of the bullpen or be a starter when he is getting up there in age. Carlos Martinez is almost certainly going to be a starter in the 2020 season.

One major injury the Cardinals suffered was to closer Jordan Hicks. Hicks was having a great year with a 3.14 ERA and completing 14/15 save opportunities. He went down in June with a torn UCL and had Tommy John surgery. Hicks is set to come back sometime in the middle of next year. That proposes the question of who should be the closer for the Saint Louis Cardinals for the first half of the 2020 season? Should it be Wainwright possibly coming out of the bullpen or should it be Ryan Helsley who had a great season for the Cardinals and became a fairly reliable relief pitcher for the Cardinals. He was one of the most used relievers in the postseason for the Cardinals. The pitching for the Cardinals has a lot of potential especially with star pitcher Jack Flaherty and with the Cardinals bullpen being one of the best in baseball. There are other concerns such as what will the Cardinals do with the outfield and who will start at 3rd base.

A lot of Cardinal fans are already excited about next season.

“I’m excited to see how the team will perform compared to last year,” said Hornung.