The Cardinals aren’t merely sitting back and waiting for Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton’s decision on where he’ll play starting next season.
In fact, while St. Louis has been in contact with the Rays about closer Alex Colome, “those talks could shift or expand to include third baseman Evan Longoria,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified source.
The Rays reportedly are looking to trim payroll, and Longoria, 32, is due $13.5 million in 2018 and $86 million through 2022 ($94 million if an option is exercised for 2023). More important, only weeks into the 2018 season, he will reach 10-and-5 status (10 years of MLB service time, the past five with the same team), giving him veto power over any trade.
The Cardinals played Jedd Gyorko 109 games at third last season as part of a de facto rotation. But he’s considered a second baseman who was forced to play out of position. Longoria, meanwhile, is a three-time Gold Glove winner with a career slash line of .261/.313/.424 who averaged 26 homers and 89 RBIs per season.
According to the Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals “have gauged the interest in their young pitchers and arbitration-eligible starter Michael Wacha, because such deals could require a starting pitcher.”
The Cardinals are coming off their worst season in a decade, going 83-79 They finished a distant third in the NL Central.
If they lose out in the Stanton sweepstakes, then Longoria and other pieces could immediately help them.