St. Louis Cardinals

Are Cardinals the odds-on favorite to sign a slugger? Don’t bet on it.

Will free agent Edwin Encarnacion be playing third base in St. Louis next season? One sports wagering site says the odds are in the Cardinals’ favor.
Will free agent Edwin Encarnacion be playing third base in St. Louis next season? One sports wagering site says the odds are in the Cardinals’ favor. Associated Press

Are the St. Louis Cardinals going to stand pat on Dexter Fowler in their quest to catch the Cubs in the National League Central Division?

General Manager John Mozeliak has indicated as much, as does the team’s history of not being high rollers on the free agent market.

But some odds makers think the Cardinals may yet gamble on another major free agent signing. Tipster site SportsBettingDime.com lists St. Louis among the favorites to land the services of several big-name sluggers. Namely:

▪  Edwin Encarnacion. The Toronto Blue Jays have apparently moved on from a guy who has played the corner infield positions before, but has been used mostly as a designated hitter since about 2011.

He led the American League with 127 RBI last season and belted 42 home runs. ESPN projected he’ll get a five-year deal with $120 million, even though he’ll turn 34 before the end of next season.

At 5-to-1, the Cardinals are the odds-on favorite to make that deal ... so says the sports wagering site.

▪  Mark Trumbo. As a third baseman and middle-of-the-lineup thumper, one could argue that Trumbo fills two of the Cardinals’ most pressing needs.

He led the AL with 47 dingers last year and drove home 108 runs for the Baltimore Orioles. His .256 batting average was five points higher than his career clip. SportsBettingDime.com rated the odds of him resigning with the O’s even up. The Cardinals, at 6-to-1, are the second most-likely suitors for his services.

But it’s been reported that the Orioles have since withdrawn a four-year offer for $52 million, which should shake-up the market for the two-time All-Star. He’s asking for something north of $70 million and will be 31 before the new season begins.

▪  Chris Carter. The former Houston Astros’ DH and Milwaukee Brewers first baseman might be the reincarnation of all-or-nothing free-swinger Dave Kingman.

Carter hit 41 home runs last year with a .222 average and a league-high 206 strikeouts. In fact, he averages 35 home runs over a 162-game schedule, but has never hit better than .227 in a full season.

SportsBettingDime says 6-to-1 the 30-year-old non-tendered free agent will be in St. Louis next year.

So, Cardinals fans, does this convince you that Santa will be dropping a cleanup hitter and corner infielder into your stockings this Christmas?

Are the insiders at SportsBettingDime.com onto something? Will Mozeliak really roll the dice on one of these guys?

I wouldn’t bet on it.

Sports Editor Todd Eschman: 618-239-2540, @tceschman

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