Buffa: The Cardinals need Stanton, not Yelich or Hosmer

As the Washington Nationals do their best MLB impression of the Cincinnati Bengals, let's talk about a few things.

If the Cardinals acquire Giancarlo Stanton, there will still be fans who gripe about it. After all, these are the best fans in baseball, so they will find a way to dislike it. Let's look at a few examples.

"That's so much money to give to one player." Greetings, new arrival. The year is 2017 and big-time bats cost a pretty penny. You don't find the best steak at Aldi, do you? Baseball fans are the biggest hypocrites. SPEND THE MONEY! When it is spent, it's too much. 

"Matheny will ruin him!" Wrong. Matheny will play Stanton every day and John Mabry will stand quietly by and let him hit. True studs like Stanton don't get ruined by managers. Mike Scioscia hasn't ruined Mike Trout. The elite ride on their own terms. 

"He can opt out after 2020!" Fine, then the Cardinals will get the prime years of Stanton before he starts to decline after 30 years of age. They will get three premium seasons. If Stanton decides to get out of his mega-contract and the Cardinals don't want to dabble in crazy, goodnight and good luck. I don't think Stanton will do that unless he cranks the baseball like he did last year for three straights seasons. 

"He can't start over Tommy Pham!" Seriously, with all due respect to the breakout star of 2017, this would (and should) be met with insane expressions. Medicine will be prescribed. 

"He gets hurt too often." True concern. In his eight-year career, Stanton has only played in 145 or more games three times. However, there was a pair of freak injuries that kept him sidelined for long stretches. A hit by a pitch in the face and swinging a bat and breaking his hand. 2017 showed a healthy and robust Giancarlo, so unless he shows freakish Thor power with the bat again, the man should be good to go. 

"What about his defense?" Stanton isn't gold glove caliber in right field, but he saved the Marlins ten runs in 2017 and posted a 6.7 Ultimate Zone Rating. Stanton threw out nine runners last year as well, so he has an arm. He would be an upgrade over Stephen Piscotty. 

Like it or not, Stanton makes a lot of sense for the Cardinals. Josh Donaldson and J.D. Martinez are very good players, but Stanton is the youngest of the three and could make the largest dent in the lineup. Every player comes with risk, but with Stanton, the reward is substantial.

With all due respect to Christian Yelich, he's just another good-to-solid player. The Cardinals have plenty of those, so why add another? Eric Hosmer is a fine player, but we already have him in St. Louis; his name is Matt Carpenter. If the Cardinals traded for Yelich, they would need to get Donaldson as well. 

Once again, the Cardinals must be BOLD this offseason. Sacrifice the farm and acquire big-time players. If the Cardinals were to acquire Stanton, that would place them on even ground with the Cubs and Brewers right away. 

Then again, some fans will still complain about it. Fans will call it impossible, watch it happen, and try to find ways to shoot it down. 

It's too bad the amount of articles written about Stanton to St. Louis couldn't help close the deal because this is my third time writing about it.

Is it a slow month? Yes.

Do I not get as much of a kick out of watching Cardinals-less playoff baseball as everyone else? Yes.

Is the urgency for a move this substantial far too overwhelming to ignore this winter? You are correct.

If it is true that the receiving team will have to take on Stanton's entire contract, then the package of players requested shouldn't include top prospects. If that is the case, the Cardinals have to be at the front of the line. The time to guard all your prospects and be overly practical is over. If Stanton is available, the Cardinals need to be first.

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St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist Jose de Jesus Ortiz wrote a piece over the weekend that seemed to point fingers at Dexter Fowler for not obeying the Cardinal Way. A teammate or two (?) didn't like Fowler not showing up to games until late and leaving early. I just have one question: is this high school?

Fowler has a young family, so I understand leaving early. You face the press for questions, shower up, and get out. That's your job. It's not your job to stand and deny accountability in front of the media like some Cardinals do.

When it comes to getting to the ballpark later, I couldn't care less. Fowler is a professional and unless he's getting there past the mandatory time, nothing is wrong. Is he missing the team bonding sessions or the Piscotty baserunning school pregame? No, he's showing up when he needs to and doing what he needs to get done. 

I don't blame Ortiz for writing it; I blame the snitch who decided it was a good time to complain about weak issues.

Fowler wasn't the problem in 2017. The only thing he has to worry about in 2018 is staying on the field, not getting there early to satisfy his teammates.  

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One of the bright spots of the 2017 season was the Cardinals cutting the fat from the roster.

Expiring talents like Jhonny Peralta and Jonathan Broxton were let go, while misplaced talents like Matt Adams and Mike Leake were sent packing.

Those four players weren't going to be difference makers in 2017 or 2018, so those were good moves. Leake may blossom in Seattle, but he wasn't pitching well in St. Louis.

Adams isn't more valuable than Carpenter at first, so that was a solid move as well. The little things can add up. 

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Adam Wainwright has full range of motion in his right arm, which is amazing after surgery taking place a week ago.

Now that he's got it back, where does he fit into the team plans moving forward? Rotation or bullpen?

Wainwright's overall efficiency as a starter has declined over the past two seasons, so do the Cardinals take a chance on him?

Michael Wacha's 2017 was comforting but he still carries a worrisome tag on his shoulder. Still, I'd rather see what he's got in the rotation over Wainwright. If I was a gambling man, I wouldn't bet on a Waino comeback, but he's proved us wrong before. Is the risk worth the wavering reward?

Have a question or thought about the Cardinals? Drop me a line at buffa82@gmail.com and I'd be happy to address it. It's going to be a long and interesting winter, so let's stoke the fire together. 

Thanks for reading. 

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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