Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Search for an Impact Bat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Search for an Impact Bat

Article excerpt

Sports columnist Ben Frederickson introduces you to realistic candidates worthy of the Cardinals' consideration in the quest for an impact bat:

JOSH DONALDSON

Age * 31 Pos. * 3B

Contract * Eligible for arbitration this offseason, free agency awaiting after 2018

Career batting * .277 avg., .368 OBP, .510 SLG (7 seasons)

Last 3 Years Batting Line * .285/.387/.559

Skinny * The righthanded hitting three-time All-Star has expressed his interest in signing an extension in Toronto, but what if the Blue Jays rebuild? He's averaged 37 home runs per season the past three years, and hasn't knocked fewer than 29 since 2013. Since 2015, he ranks fifth in extra-base hits (212) sixth in homers (111), seventh in SLG (.559) and eighth in RBI.

GIANCARLO STANTON

Age * 27 Pos. * Corner OF

Contract * Entering the fourth year of the mega deal that will earn him $295 million through 2027, if he doesn't decide to opt out after 2020. He has a full no trade clause, but he's made it clear he's not interested in a rebuild.

Career batting * .268 avg., .360 OBP, .554 SLG over (8 seasons)

Last 3 Years Batting Line * .265/.354/.580

Skinny * This season the righthanded hitting three-time All-Star stayed healthy and led the majors in home runs (59), RBI (132) and SLG (.631). His contract is hard to swallow. How much of it would new Marlins owner Derek Jeter agree to eat?

MARCELL OZUNA

Age * 26 Pos. * OF

Contract * Arbitration eligible next season, free agent after 2020

Career batting * .277 avg., .329 OBP, .457 SLG (5 seasons)

Last 3 Years Batting Line * .281/.338/.469

Skinny * The righthanded hitting two-time All-Star cleaned up from the cleanup spot, setting career-highs in homers (37), doubles (30), walks (64), RBI (124; third in MLB), and on-base plus SLG (.924). He had two-plus hits in a game 60 times this season, and three-plus hits 19 times. His OPS+ was a staggering 145; that's 45 percent above league average. Big question: Is this sustainable?

CHRISTIAN YELICH

Age * 25 Pos. * OF

Contract * Entering the fourth year of the seven-year, $49.5 million contract

Career batting * .290 avg., .369 OBP, .432 SLG (5 seasons)

Last 3 Years Batting Line * .293/.371./.447

Skinny * The case for trading for the lefthanded-hitting Yelich is based partly on what he's done see the career OPS+ of 120 but mostly on what he might do. The Marlins' No. 3 hitter averaged 19.5 homers the past two seasons. And he doesn't turn 26 until December. But his OPS dropped more than 50 points from 2016 to 2017.

MIKE MOUSTAKAS

Age * 29 Pos. * 3B

Contract * Potential free agent

Career batting * .251 avg., .305 OBP, .425 SLG (7 seasons)

Last 3 Years Batting Line * .275/.329/.496

Skinny * The late-blooming, lefthanded-hitting, two-time All-Star smashed a career-high 38 home runs (tied for eighth in baseball) this season after an injury-shortened 2016. …

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