Want a reason to watch the LCS even though your team isn’t in it? Here are some top free agents the Cardinals could target.
It can be hard to watch the MLB playoffs when your team isn’t in it. As an Astros fan, I have plenty of experience with this. There are some years where your team does so badly that while watching the playoffs it is hard to even fathom how they’ll ever possibly get to that point. There are other years where your team is pretty close to making it, and watching the postseason makes you think about all of the small missed opportunities your team had in the regular season that prevented them from playing into October.
For Cardinals fans, your experience probably falls into the latter category this year, as the Cards were in the playoff race until the end and finished only four games behind the Colorado Rockies for the second Wild Card spot.
Instead of mulling over what the Cards could have done to make the playoffs, Cards fans should instead think positively; they should look out for some of the players who will be free agents in the postseason. The Cards just missed out on the playoffs this year and have a lot of young talent; maybe a good free agent signing or two could get them back to October. So here are a few free agents to watch out for in the LCS. Who knows which of these guys could be wearing a Cards jersey during the postseason next year?
The Cardinals will be without their hard-throwing closer Trevor Rosenthal for most of the 2018 season because of Tommy John surgery, so they could use a proven closer to replace him. Wade Davis has been one of the most dominant relievers in the MLB since his switch from a starter in 2014. In this time, Davis ranks first in ERA and ERA-; in the top eight in WHIP, FIP- and WAR; and 12th in K% among all relievers with at least 100 IP.
In addition, Davis has plenty of playoff experience, including pitching in two World Series with the Royals in 2014 and 2015 (as seen in the video above). In these two years, Davis allowed a ridiculous one earned run and struck out 38 batters in 25 innings. As Davis currently pitches for the Cubs, who have won the NL Central the past two years, he knows their hitters well and would provide the Cards an advantage in games against their division rivals. Davis would be a huge addition to the back end of the Cards’ ‘pen, giving them one of the most reliable closers in the league.
Although he had some struggles with his consistency throughout the year, Darvish put up very good numbers for the Dodgers after getting traded from the Rangers. As a Dodger, he had a 3.44 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and did an incredible job of missing bats; he had 61 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings while increasing his swinging strike percentage by over 1% and decreasing his contact percentage by 4% from his time with the Rangers this year.
His last 3 starts of the year were especially impressive—in 19 1/3 innings, Darvish gave up only one run and showed great control, striking out 21 and walking only one. Additionally, Darvish has been one of the more consistent starters in the MLB since coming from Japan in 2012—he has a career 3.42 ERA—and at times has been dominant. The Cards aren’t in desperate need of a starting pitcher, but if Darvish’s strong late season performance carries over into the playoffs and he continues to pitch like an ace, he will be hard to ignore.
While C.C. is clearly no longer the ace he was earlier in his career, he did put up some very solid numbers this year: Sabathia finished with a 3.69 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and an ERA- of 84, which ranked in the top 30 among starters with at least 140 IP. Sabathia would slot in as the only southpaw in a Cards rotation full of right-handed pitchers and would also give the Cardinals a veteran presence with plenty of playoff experience; coming into this year’s playoffs, Sabathia had pitched in 19 postseason games.
Stats Courtesy of ESPN, FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference
Featured Photo Captured By: USA Today Sports-Jerry Lai
Video Courtesy of MLB.com
First Photo Captured By: USA Today Sports-Matt Kartozian
Second Photo Captured By: USA Today Sports-David Richard