On Saturday, the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins reportedly agreed to a trade that will send NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx in exchange for Starlin Castro, prospects, and financial freedom. The move comes a day after the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants raised the white flag on potential Stanton deals due to his unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause. We already covered the Giants and how this presents them with an opportunity to hit reset. Conversely, the Cardinals figure to shift their focus to a different target in pursuit of a big bat. Just who might that be? Let's take a gander at some options across the league. The path of least resistance suggests beginning with free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez. No, Martinez isn't on Stanton's level as a player -- he's older and a much worse defender -- but he is coming off a three-year stretch that has seen him post a 148 OPS+ (Stanton managed a 149 mark) while averaging 35 home runs (Stanton has averaged 38). He wouldn't require a prospect package, nor would he necessitate draft-pick compensation. Adding Martinez would, however, mean adding a massive contract. The Cardinals were willing to pay the piper for Stanton yet, for the aforementioned reasons, it seems less likely that they'd splurge on Martinez. Because the free-agent market doesn't offer many other impact bats, the Cardinals seem more likely to add a big bat through a trade. One such player who could make sense is Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, a free-agent come next winter. Donaldson has actually managed a higher OPS+ over the last three seasons than Stanton has, and has done so while playing a fine-to-good third base. The Cardinals could slot in Donaldson at the hot corner and leave Matt Carpenter at first base, all the while hoping their outfield depth gets the job done.
Cardinals well-positioned to add impact bat even after missing out on Stanton
CBS Sports | Dec 10