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Who will the St. Louis Cardinals regret missing out on in the free-agent sweepstakes?
The Cardinals went into this offseason with a hefty wishlist. One that reflected what fans were hoping to see. The Cardinals were going for it. It is reportedly the final season for Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. The club wants these Cardinals legends to go out in style – as World Series champs.
The wishlist included a top-tier shortstop, a starting pitcher or two, relief pitching, and bench help.
A top-tier shortstop was quickly taken off the table when John Mozeliak, Cards president of baseball operations, expressed renewed hope in the success of Paul DeJong, who had a rough 2021 season due to injury. DeJong did work hard in the offseason to improve his approach at the plate as well as work on fielding.
DeJong’s contract with the Cardinals is another prompt for keeping him. DeJong is in the midst of a six-year, $26 million contract ending in 2023 but includes club options for 2024 and 2025. Mozeliak’s possible thinking is why take on a huge multi-million dollar deal for a shortstop when you have a guy with loads of potential in DeJong on a team-friendly contract already in the system.
The club did get Steven Matz to fill their starting pitcher need. Although, with injuries, more may be needed unless they see that Matthew Liberatore or Jake Woodford may be ready to step up.
Drew VerHagen was signed after the lockout ended. While he could be an option in the rotation, he could see time as a long reliever. The remaining days in spring training will help determine how he’s used this season.
Corey Dickerson was signed as a bench option. He’s able to play in the outfield and help Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson, Harrison Bader, and Lars Nootbaar. He could also see time as the designated hitter as the lefty has an excellent bat.
The Cardinals could surprise us all and get some more help but there are some players the team could regret not signing. Let’s take a look.