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The Cardinals seem unlikely to sign either free agent shortstop Carlos Correa or Trevor Story, despite a need at the position.
Story made the most sense, especially at the beginning of the offseason. The former Rockie is an old teammate of Nolan Arenado, who has proven the transition from Coors Field to Busch Stadium is very doable.
Rather than add Story, which would improve their lineup immensely, the Cardinals plan to stick with Edmundo Sosa and Paul DeJong.
Correa, meanwhile, wants $330 million minimum. That’s likely a nonstarter with St. Louis ownership, which are already on the books for Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado’s long-term deals.
Cardinals: Why not sign Carlos Correa, Trevor Story?
It’s a mix of both financial means, and because they believe in their internal options.
Sosa played very well down the stretch last season, slashing .271/.346/.389 and playing elite defense, while DeJong is signed to a team-friendly deal and coming off what they hope is an outlier of a season. DeJong slashed just .197/.284/.390 last year, but made the All-Star team in 2019.
The following is per FanSided’s Robert Murray on the Cardinals’ stance at shortstop:
“By now, you’re aware that the St. Louis Cardinals have signaled that they are comfortable with Paul DeJong as their Opening Day shortstop. Some of you have interpreted that as a smokescreen while others have expressed disappointment in their stance. But the Cardinals’ actions matched their words, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that the team ‘was not active in discussions with any player in this marquee class of free-agent shortstops’ before the lockout.”
The Cardinals might know something we don’t about DeJong’s struggles, and the work he’s putting in this offseason to correct those flaws in his swing. If he returns to 2019 form, then St. Louis made the right call not over-spending on either Story or Correa.
If not, then the Cardinals might be left wondering ‘what if’ next postseason.