So, as it would seem, the Cardinals are indeed showing interest in free agent 3rd baseman, Justin Turner. Well, a few things need to fall into place for this potential managerial goal to come to fruition. Let’s take a look at what would need to occur, and how the Cardinals can perhaps kill two transactional birds with one stone.
By now, I’m sure, most of you have heard the mild buzz going around that the Cardinals are, indeed, showing interest in 32 year old third baseman, Justin Turner. While, as I said in my last article, I think it would be a great move for the club to sign the veteran infielder, a few pieces need to be moved around for this to become a reality. All reports point to the idea that, in order for the Turner signing to become a reality, the Cardinals would have to deal away infielder Jhonny Peralta, who still has one year left on his contract. Well, although it may not be the Cards’ first choice to trade the veteran infielder, I have a scenario that could benefit them in two ways.
The San Francisco Giants, besides the Dodgers, of course, have been pegged as the biggest contenders for Turner in the free agent market. With Eduardo Nunez entering arbitration, and coming off another under-productive year at the hot corner, it makes sense that the Giants would be looking for a replacement. Maybe the Cardinals can provide them that replacement, thus eliminating one of Turner’s potential buyers.
Of course, with Peralta still on contract, this transaction would come via a trade. So this potential move could benefit the Cardinals in more than just freeing up Turner from another suitor. At 34, and coming off of a year plagued bye a recurring thumb injury, there’s doubt Peralta would command large value in the trade market. However, there are several players that the Giants may realistically be willing to deal for the Dominican utility man, pieces which would help fill some of the Cardinals’ needs.
The first names that come to mind as possible targets are outfielders Denard Span and Angel Pagan. Cardinals wouldn’t be able to get both of these veteran forces, but at their ages, 34 and 35 respectively, the Giants may be willing to swap one of them for Peralta, especially with the 2016 addition of outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, and the ascension of Austin Slater in the Giants system, splitting time in 2016 between AA Richmond and AAA Sacramento, and holding a .305 career minor league average with 23 homers and 139 RBI over two years.
We all know the Cardinals’ need for an outfielder. Not only do each of these guys provide much needed consistency out of a corner outfield spot, but they could also help balance out the heavily right-handed Cardinal line up with their left-handed bats. With a combined 48 and 64 home runs respectively, and each with career averages hovering around .280, either one of these guys could be main contributors for the Cards.
I could also see the possibility of the Cards shopping Peralta for a San Francisco reliever. The Giants are stacked with young bullpen talent, with names such as Derek Law and Hunter Strickland making names for themselves in 2016, and with big arms like Ray Black and Steven Overt rising in the farm system. Along with the outfield, the Cardinals’ big weakness comes in the bullpen, and, if they choose to do so, making a trade involving Peralta and the Giants could afford them a bullpen force.
To wrap up
We’ve heard over the last few days that the Cardinals do, indeed, have interest in signing Justin Turner, the “Cali Boy.” However, it would seemingly take the departure of veteran infielder Jhonny Peralta to give way for this signing. While there may be an emotional resistance to giving away what was one of the emotional leaders of the team for the last 4 years, there are more benefits to this move than just eliminating one of Turner’s potential buyers. Dealing Peralta to the Giants could potentially afford the Cards main pieces to their puzzle: a veteran outfielder, a young, rising bullpen pitcher, or both. Let’s make it happen!