The defending NL Central champions have undergone a very quiet offseason with minimal moves being made. In fact, the biggest “move” the St. Louis Cardinals made was not resigning Marcell Ozuna, who landed with the Braves on a one-year $18 million contract. Then again, for a team that’ll be mostly coming back and having won 91 games last season, maybe it’s not the worst strategy to implement.
SP Kwang-Hyun Kim
OF Austin Dean
RP Michael Wacha
OF Marcell Ozuna
OF José Martínez
One area the Cardinals needed help in and quite frankly haven’t addressed is a bat. The loss of Ozuna and Jose Martinez, who to be fair struggled last season, doesn’t exactly help. With Ozuna out of the mix, Lane Thomas, Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader should be in line for more consistent at-bats. Any improvement from Matt Carpenter would also help after he finished the year with a .226/.334/.392 slash line with 15 home runs and 46 RBI. They do still have Paul Goldschmidt but Cardinals fans quickly found out how streaky of a hitter he could be.
One signing the Cardinals did make was for SP Kwang-Hyun Kim, formerly of the SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization. Kim will be competing for the last rotation spot in the Cardinals rotation, likely against Carlos Martinez, who has been pitching out of the bullpen. The 31-year-old lefty has a very nasty slider and struck out 180 through 190 1⁄3 innings last season. He’d be looking to join the likes of the same rotation from last season which featured Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson. Keeping Martinez in the bullpen seems to be the more effective use of his services after saving 24 games.
The Cardinals offense was bad last season and will now run almost the exact lineup back out without Ozuna. While that would make some panic, I think offensively, they’ll turn it around this season. We saw some unusually poor seasons from players like Carpenter and Goldschmidt that I’d be surprised if that continued for a second year. While they still have time to sign another bat, I think they’ll be active at the trade deadline in a division where we could see the Cubs taking a step back as a contender. With this in mind, DraftKings Sportsbook has the team’s win total set at 85.5 wins for which I’m comfortable taking the over.
Cardinals OVER 85.5 wins
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