ST. LOUIS — Now that the wild 2020 ride for the Cardinals is over, the focus in St. Louis shifts to 2021.
This past season ended in a familiar way, with the Cardinals eliminated before reaching the World Series after a regular season plagued by an underperforming offense. The Cardinals were in the bottom five of all of baseball in runs, doubles, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS.
So, what can they do?
If the Cardinals decide to open up the checkbook and give some money to a free agent this winter, there are a few names Mozelak, DeWitt and company may want to check out.
The 2020 free agent class isn't exactly the most stacked group of players in the world, but there are still some options. Here's ten players the Cardinals might look at to get some more offense this upcoming hot stove season.
Springer is the crown jewel of the MLB offseason, and it would likely take a lot of years and a lot of dough for the Cardinals to reel him in.
The 31-year-old outfielder is in the prime of his career and is coming off a nice 2020 season and monster 2019 full season in which he hit 39 home runs and drove in 96 runs.
Springer is a three-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger and won a World Series with the now infamous 2017 Houston Astros.
Springer is also a proved performer in the postseason, with 17 home runs through 58 career postseason games.
It's going to take a lot for the Cardinals to land Springer, and we've seen they don't seem too inclined to dish out any monster offers lately, so this seems like a pipe dream.
He would be an instant shot of offense to the lineup, and bring some stability to an underperforming outfield.
The Cardinals would have to shuffle the infield and likely move Paul DeJong to third base, but Semien is one of the best free agents available, and one of the best options to boost the offense.
Semien is just a year removed from hitting 33 home runs, driving in 92 runs and finishing third in the American League MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Alex Bregman.
The 30-year-old shortstop has been part of the backbone of good Oakland Athletics teams for a while, and while his offensive explosion in 2019 may have been a bit of an aberration, he'd still likely be an offensive upgrade for this current Cardinals roster.
The 2020 free agent class is a pretty weak one, all things considered, so that makes Pederson one of the top outfielders available.
The 28-year-old Dodger has 130 home runs in 748 career regular season games, and a career OPS of .806.
He'll hit for a pretty paltry average most of the time - and is just a .230 career hitter - but he's a lefty bat that can be a long ball threat.
He'd bring some thump to the outfield, but could be just a streaky as some of the guys already out there
Brantley has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball for a while now.
If he's healthy, you can pretty much count on him hitting around .300, belting about 15 home runs and ripping 30 doubles every year.
The 33-year-old outfielder has already been around for 12 years, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of contract he can get if teams think he's on the back side of his prime years.
He's a four-time All-Star and would immediately bring some stability to the outfield and top of the Cardinals lineup, likely as a table-setter for Paul Goldschmidt.
Turner, a third baseman, is another 33-year-old veteran on the open market.
Turner flourished after arriving in Los Angeles in 2014, hitting .302/.382/.503/.886 in seven seasons with the Dodgers.
If the Cardinals were to add Turner, it may spell the end for Matt Carpenter at third base, and Turner is one of the most proven free agents on the market, so he's likely not going to come all that cheap.
Cespedes was once one of the most feared hitters in baseball, but now feels like sort of a wild card.
He's battled injuries with the Mets the past few years, but has shown glimpses of his power still being there.
Cespedes up and left the Mets abruptly in 2020, opting out of the season after just eight games.
Who knows what he's worth now or what he can produce, but somebody out there is going to take a flyer on the soon-to-be 35 year old.
Here's a name Cardinals fans will certainly recognize.
Bruce has been around for a long time, and St. Louis fans no doubt remember his days terrorizing them with the Reds.
Bruce is also 33 years old, and has bounced around the league the past few years. In 2020 with the Phillies, Bruce scuffled to a .198 average, six home runs and 14 RBI in 98 at-bats.
In a full 2019, Bruce did hit 26 homers while driving in 59, so there is sitll some thump there.
The Cardinals could probably get him for not all that much, and use him as depth if they decide to give guys like Tyler O'Neill and Harrison Bader another shot.
A one-time top prospect with Texas, Profar has shown flashes of the promise he once showed.
In 2020 with the Padres, Profar hit 7 home runs, drove in 25, stole 7 bases and hit .278.
He's versatile, and can play pretty much anywhere on the diamond. If the Cardinals chose not to bring back Brad Miller, Profar could fill a similar role, with perhaps a bit more upside.
The Cardinals would have to get creative on the infield to work Gregorius in, but his track record shows he'd likely be an instant offensive upgrade.
The 30-year-old shortstop had a nice 60-game season in 2020, hitting 10 home runs, driving in 40 runs and finishing with an OPS of .827.
Gregorius, 30, had three consecutive 20-homer seasons with the Yankees from 2016-2018, so there may yet be some of that power left in his bat.
Ozuna is the big fish of the 2020 free agents, after nearly winning the triple crown in the National League this past season.
The former Cardinal led the league with 18 home runs and 56 RBI while slugging .636 for the Atlanta Braves in 2020.
I would call it extremely unlikely for the Cardinals are interested in signing a guy they could have just extended last offseason, but he's still the best option out there.
Either way Ozuna is going to be in for a pay day after proving himself on a one-year deal with the Braves.