Next up, we head to the NL Central and take a look at the St. Louis Cardinals. Again, on the surface, Haniger is a good fit in Cardinals blue. The Cardinals are likely to lose Marcell Ozuna to free agency and to say there projected outfield is questionable, may be kind.
Their current projected outfield consists of Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and Dexter Fowler, with Tommy Edman getting a lot of PAs as a 4th OF. This doesn’t exactly scream “world series caliber” and Haniger is a safe bet to replace what they are going to lose from Ozuna, at worst.
Adding Haniger to this lineup would be a major lift for a team with World Series aspirations, but finding a deal between the two sides is a bit difficult. The Cardinals farm system isn’t great, nor is it particularly deep. It isn’t bad, but it lacks the impactful depth to give up guys like Nolan Gorman or Dylan Carlson.
The Cardinals have some interesting MLB pieces, including O’Neill, Bader, Jose Martinez, Alex Reyes, Dakota Hudson, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Carlos Martinez, and Giovanny Gallegos, but all of these players come with serious issues.
O’Neill and Bader have serious questions regarding their ability to consistently hit MLB pitching. Martinez is a pure DH while Reyes can’t seem to stay healthy. Ponce de Leon and Hudson look like #4 starters at best. Martinez is making some pretty serious coin, has health concerns, and may be a pure reliever as too is Gallegos.
For a deal to be consummated, the two sides will have to be creative and willing to compromise. One thing St. Louis does have going in its favor is a competitive balance A pick, which could tip the scales in their favor.