The St. Louis Cardinals have been active than most this winter, as they made a huge trade and acquired Marcell Ozuna to augment their offense and even signed reliever Luke Gregerson to beef up their bullpen. However, they still have some areas of need to address if they want to contend with the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
Here are three ways the Cardinals can improve their team without signing a huge free agent.
3. Take a Flyer on Former All-Star Closer
Just about all of the top relievers on the free agent market have signed, except for Greg Holland, who isn't on the Cardinals radar to address the hole in the ninth inning. So if they want a cheaper option to upgrade the back end of their bullpen, why not take a flyer on a former All-Star closer? Huston Street missed just about all of the 2017 season with several injuries (lat strain/groin strain), which is certainly concerning when considering signing him. However, it would be one of those low-risk, high-reward signings, and it wouldn't cost anything more than a cheap one-year deal, which could be incentive-laden.
2. You Want Third Baseman? Here's Your Man
The Cardinals could stick with Jedd Gyorko and be fine at the hot corner, but it's a position they seem poised to upgrade. A Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado trade doesn't seem to be happening, and Mike Moustakas would cost a huge multi-year deal. So why not get an established veteran at a cheaper price? Todd Frazier fits any team in need of a third baseman, and even though he still has pop and is pretty productive, it won't cost an arm and a leg.
1. Stick With Top Prospects to Upgrade Rotation
St. Louis figures to lose veteran starter Lance Lynn to free agency, leaving a void in their rotation. While the Cardinals have the money to sign a Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish, it would be wise to avoid signing a veteran to a mega contract. They already have Carlos Martinez holding down the fort at the top of the rotation, and Adam Wainwright, who did have a rough 2017 campaign, has the ability to bounce back. Between Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty, the Cardinals have to arms to fill out a quality rotation.