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The 2021-22 MLB offseason is a few weeks old and major moves are starting to happen. Like the MLB season itself, the offseason is a marathon rather than a sprint -- although the impending expiration of the collective bargaining agreement greatly complicates how the hot stove season proceeds. 

That said, it's still the offseason, and we're going to examine each prospective buyer's winter wish list over the next few days. Now it's the St. Louis Cardinals' turn, who raised the bar for themselves by firing erstwhile manager Mike Shildt following a 90-win season. Let's get to it.


Corey Seager
TEX • SS • #5
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The St. Louis lineup badly needs some left-handed pop to provide some balance, and Seager provides that and then some from the key position of shortstop. Seager is coming off a season in which he batted .306/.394/.521 for the Dodgers with 16 home runs in 95 games. For his career, he owns an OPS+ of 131 -- a sparkling figure for a middle infielder -- with 26 home runs and 42 doubles per 162 games played. 

The Cardinals still have a couple of capable shortstops in Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa -- defensive assets, both -- but neither can touch Seager's offensive ceiling. One can be shopped, and the other can fill a depth role. Given Seager's propensity for injury, depth at his position is indeed called for. As well, Sosa or DeJong could spell Seager against particularly tough lefty starters and on occasion be a late-inning defensive caddy for him. 


Marcus Stroman
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A Cardinals-Marcus Stroman pairing has been rumored of late, and it indeed makes a great deal of sense -- so much sense that we're hereby prescribing it. Stroman this past season made 33 starts, tying him for the MLB lead in that category, and in those 33 starts he pitched to a 3.02 ERA with a 3.59 K/BB ratio, which is his strongest such mark since his rookie season. As well, Stroman's strong ground-ball tendencies would fit nicely with the stellar St. Louis infield defense (yes, the infield defense would be a pronounced strength even with Seager at shortstop). Since the start of the 2019 season, Stroman owns an ERA+ of 135. Stroman's increased willingness to pitch inside plus his cultivation of a splitter suggest he could continue pitching at such a high level. 

Given the injury concerns surrounding Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas and the fact that Adam Wainwright is 40 years old, the Cardinals could use an established quantity in the rotation. Stroman is certainly that, and he promises more long-term value than does 37-year-old Max Scherzer, who's also been linked to the Cardinals. More broadly, the addition of a bedrock starting pitcher could lower the chances that the Cardinals need to pluck Alex Reyes or Jordan Hicks (assuming he's healthy) from the bullpen in order to fortify the rotation. 


Luis Garcia
LAA • RP • #66
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In addition to re-signing Luis Garcia, the Cardinals needs a bit more certainty in the ninth inning. Kenley Jansen is the bigger name on the market, but it says here that Raisel Iglesias is the better bet moving forward. He's got a starter's repertoire stuffed into a high-leverage relief role, and over the last two seasons he's been one of the most effective relievers in baseball. The cascade effect of signing Iglesias would be improved depth through the lower rungs of the St. Louis pen. 

Yes, all this amounts to a pricey winter for the Cardinals, but they've already sloughed off a lot of payroll this offseason. In Oliver Marmol's first year as manager, the torpedoes should be fully damned for a deep postseason run.