Nolan Arenado #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on from third base against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on July 07, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Cardinals Rumors: Should St Louis pursue T.J. Zeuch?
The St Louis Cardinals need offense and they have been mentioned as a fit for Twins DH/outfielder Nelson Cruz. Does it make sense?
With eight days to go until the MLB trade deadline, the primary focus has been on the St. Louis Cardinals’ search for starting pitching. But with an underperforming offense, and the team almost 10 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, they should explore adding another bat or two.
So when Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that Nelson Cruz is drawing consideration from multiple National League teams and “is game” to playing defense, whether it be in the field or in the outfield. And MLB Trade Rumors speculated that the Cardinals are a “potential fit” for Cruz, though they are not claiming to have any sort of insider information.
But the fit makes total sense. The Cardinals have been struggling to get consistent production out of the outfield for years. Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill have both been very good this season, of course, but Harrison Bader has already been on the injured list twice this season. If Cruz is acquired, and this is just speculation, it would likely move Bader to the bench while Carlson shifts to center field with Cruz taking a corner outfield spot.
While it would impact a Cardinals defense that has once again been very good this season, it would no doubt provide a boost to what has been a largely inconsistent offense. Cruz, 41, is hitting .294/.370/.537 with 19 home runs and 50 RBI in 296 at-bats. In his 17-year career, he is hitting .278/.348/.529 with 436 home runs and 1202 RBI.
Adding that bat to a lineup that already features Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt would give the Cardinals a three-headed monster and perhaps take pressure off Arenado that will allow him to perform at the level he did with the Colorado Rockies. It may be enough to get their offense back on track, but would it be enough to help them catch the Brewers in the division?
The answer, most likely, is no — unless they add a starting pitcher or two. Which makes this an even more important deadline for president of baseball operations John Mozeliak.