I mentioned Monday that the St. Louis Cardinals had about 48 hours to find some common ground with the Miami Marlins over Giancarlo Stanton or else they were going to have to move on.
So, here we are two days later with no news to report. Or at least no good news. It seems the Birds don’t have time to fool around with Stanton and need to start looking elsewhere to improve their team. There is less than a week to go before the Nov. 20 deadline to put players on the 40-man roster or face the possibility of losing them in the Rule 5 draft.
Maybe the best deal in the state of Florida for the Cardinals isn’t in Miami at all. According to reports circulating late Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays are telling teams that they’re open to offers on ace starting pitcher Chris Archer and also for closer Alex Colome.
Archer, who will make $6.25 million in 2018, is a good pitcher stuck on a bad team. He impressed during interleague play last season at Busch Stadium and then raved about the crowds here and how much fun it was to play in front of Cardinals fans.
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Colome saved 47 games and is in his first year of arbitration. By acquiring the pair in exchange for some younger pitching prospects and maybe some depth in the outfield, the Cardinals could address two major concerns and still have plenty of money left to sign that elusive middle-of-the-order bat sought by President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.
Word around free agent J.D. Martinez is that the former Tigers and Diamondbacks slugger is asking for a whopping $210 million over seven seasons. At 30 years old and with a suspect glove, Martinez’s asking price suddenly makes the $295 over 10 years for MVP candidate and most feared slugger in the National League Stanton seem a lot more reasonable.
The Cardinals could turn to Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas as their power source instead. He’s no Stanton. But he’s better in the field than what the Birds currently have on the roster and he’s a threat to hit 40 homers in the cleanup spot. Instead, the talk from the general managers meetings in Orlando, Fla., is that St. Louis has been talking with representatives for former Rays first baseman Logan Morrison.
Morrison isn’t a threat to win the MVP award. At least not in 2017. He seems more akin to a second coming of Brandon Moss with a .245 career batting average and a .330 on-base percentage. He struck out in a quarter of his plate appearances last year, although he did hit a career-high 38 homers. I don’t know if I trust those power numbers when it was the first time he’d reached the 20-homer plateau since 2011.
On Wednesday, the Cardinals need to make a take-it-or-leave-it offer to the Marlins. I’d suggest they offer Jack Flaherty, Sandy Alcantara, Stephen Piscotty and Aledmys Diaz to Miami for Stanton and reliever Brad Ziegler plus $60 million in cash. I’d negotiate the $60 million to cover the last two years of the 10-year contract so that, if Stanton opts out in three years, Miami pays nothing. But if he doesn’t, the Cardinals are insulated from paying a 37- and 38-year-old player big bucks to play out the string.
If Miami doesn’t take the offer, let them try to see what they can get with no leverage against the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants while St. Louis turns its attention toward making a deal with Tampa Bay.