The St. Louis Cardinals are hoping to get themselves back into World Series contention next season and will need a big offseason to do so. After finishing the 2017 season with an 83-79 record, the Cardinals will need to make some major moves in order to get back into contention win the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers, in particular.
Mike Matheney has caught a lot of heat, and many expected that he would be fired this offseason. That will not be the case unless something shocking occurs, but the Cardinals will look to overhaul their roster.
There have already been quite a few big rumors surrounding the Cardinals. One of those rumors has connected the Cardinals to trade talks with the Miami Marlins regarding superstar slugger Giancarlo Stanton, as MLB.com noted. He would be a massive addition for the Cardinals and could potentially single-handedly take them back to the playoffs.
Outside of the big names, there are quite a few quality players that St. Louis could target this offseason. Looking at the free agency market, there are some players that could fill specific holes for the Cardinals.
All of that being said, what underrated free agents could the St. Louis Cardinals consider pursuing this offseason?
John Lackey, Starting Pitcher
One surprise addition to the list could be John Lackey, who left the Cardinals a few years back to sign with the Cubs. He is not expected to be re-signed by Chicago, but the Cardinals could consider bringing him back. Lackey may not be a dominant starter anymore, but he could be a quality addition to the back-end of the rotation.
Brandon Phillips, Second Base
Another intriguing veteran that the Cardinals could consider is Brandon Phillips. He is not the superstar, playmaking infielder that he once was, but Phillips is still solid at the plate and is consistent with his glove. Phillips won’t cost too much on the open market and could be an upgrade at second base for St. Louis.
Bryan Shaw, Relief Pitcher
St. Louis could also use some work on their bullpen. Bryan Shaw is one of the most underrated names on the market and would be an ideal fit for the Cardinals. He would provide consistency out of the pen and would give Matheney a much-needed veteran leader to have trust in on the mound.
Jose Bautista, Outfield
Signing Jose Bautista may not be the kind of move that St. Louis pursues this offseason, but it is intriguing to think about. He is aging quickly and may not be a great fit in the outfield for an NL team, although there is a chance that he could still get the job done. St. Louis needs help at the plate, and Bautista’s track record as a hitter speaks for itself.
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