After missing the postseason the last three years, the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals are looking to take the National League Central with noteworthy additions.
The Big Picture: President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak decided to make a few moves in an attempt to get the Cardinals back to the top of the NL Central.
Moves that were made:
- Pulled off a big trade to land former Arizona Diamondbacks star first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt
- Signed free agent left-hand reliever Andrew Miller.
How will Goldschmidt fair for the Redbirds?
After trading right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver, backup catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andrew Young and a 2019 draft pick, the Cardinals got a perennial MVP candidate and a defensive first baseman. This is something they have been looking for since, arguably, Albert Pujols left for sunny Southern California.
In Goldschmidt, they were able to get a player who ranks third from 2012-2018 in Wins Above Replacement for position players, behind only Robinson Cano and Mike Trout.
More on Goldschmidt:
- Since playing full-time in the majors in 2012, Goldschmidt has averaged about 28 home runs and 97 RBI on .299/.399/.464 and a .933 OPS.
- He was a six-time NL All-Star from 2013-2018.
- Goldschmidt is a three-time Gold Glove Winner, which showcases his defensive acumen.
That said, the Cardinals rewarded Goldschmidt with a new five-year, $130 million extension, the most in team history with regards to the total amount and what he will be making a year — roughly $26 million. This shows that Mozeliak is not only willing to win now, but also in the future.
Is it “Miller Time” in the “Show Me State”?
With the Cardinals signing the 33-year old Andrew Miller to a two-year, $25 million contract, it’s clear they are hoping to get a stabilizing force in the bullpen. As a bonus, he could potentially close out some games as well. However, the Miller signing offers a slightly murkier projection than the Goldschmidt trade.
Things to note about Miller:
- He was the ALCS MVP in 2016 and helped push the Chicago Cubs to a decisive game seven during the 2016 World Series with the Cleveland Indians.
- After being an All-Star during the 2017 season sporting a 1.44 ERA in 57 games, Miller regressed heavily in 2018, posting a 4.24 ERA in 37 games.
- This was mainly due to the fact that Miller was sent to the disabled list on three different occasions to deal numerous ailments to his knee, shoulder and hamstring.
The Cardinals are banking on a bounce-back year from him. A healthy Miller would only bolster a bullpen that has been sorely lacking consistent stability. With Miller and the hard-throwing Jordan Hicks holding down the final few innings, teams will have a hard time trying to get any runs late in the game.
Outlook: In all, after three trying seasons, the Cardinals seemed to have given themselves enough firepower to compete with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cubs for the top spot in the NL Central. The addition of Goldschmidt will help the Cardinals both offensively and defensively. His arrival will relieve the pressure from Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Jose Martinez to produce.
Meanwhile, Miller’s arrival to the “Show Me State” is the front office’s attempt to right a ship that has been precipitously close to sinking. If all goes well and Miller’s health holds up, it can only pay dividends to a bullpen that currently has Alex Reyes, John Brebbia among other young pitchers.
Bottom Line: By the 2019 season’s end, expect the St. Louis Cardinals to be flying high and into the postseason, potentially reaching heights they had not seen since 2013.