Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch speculates on a possible offseason trade:
With Carlos Martinez meriting a look-see as a starter — and [Trevor] Rosenthal wanting the same — it’s increasingly likely that general manager John Mozeliak shops Lance Lynn or Shelby Miller to simultaneously create an opening while addressing a core need at shortstop.
Pete Kozma served as the Cardinals’ primary shortstop in 2013 and posted a hideous .217/.275/.273 batting line in 143 games. Daniel Descalso also saw time at short this year in St. Louis, but he’s only marginally better on offense than Kozma and a significant downgrade defensively. The Cards have another internal option in 25-year-old former fifth-round pick Ryan Jackson, who spent the year at Triple-A Memphis, but the major league projections for him aren’t great.
With an abundance of legitimate MLB starters — think Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Miller, Lynn, Martinez and Rosenthal — and a ton of money coming off the books between Carlos Beltran, Jake Westbrook, Rafael Furcal and Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals are set up well to make a splash.
Lynn, 26, has a 3.82 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 in 412 1/3 major league innings. He will be arbitration-eligible for the first time next offseason. Miller, 23, owns a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 8.9 K/9 through his first 187 major league innings. He won’t reach salary arbitration until 2016. They’re both excellent trade chips.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.