(BaseballStL) - Adding Jason Heyward was a necessary – if not mandatory – move for the Cardinals in preparation of the 2015 season. They didn’t have a right fielder and he certainly gives them one. But that’s not the end of the Cards offensive wish list this winter.
In case you haven’t heard, Matt Adams hit just .190 against left-handed pitchers last season and probably requires at least a partial time sure next year. Adams is a nice first baseman. He could ultimately turn into a very good one.
But right now he’s best suited to face righties and that’s about it. Don’t let his postseason fool you either. Three home runs in 30 at-bats doesn’t overshadow 527 during the regular season.
So, who is GM John Mozeliak going to get to fill this role? Two names come to mind. Mark Reynolds and – more intriguingly – Corey Hart. Reynolds is more of the known commodity because he hasn’t missed any time in his career.
The 31-year old mashed 22 home runs for the Brewers in 2014 after popping 21 for the Indians and Yankees in 2013. In fact, Reynolds hasn’t hit fewer than that number (21) since his rookie year in 2007. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end for him.
Yes, there’s power. But he also just cannot consistently hit for average to save his life. Reynolds is a .229 CAREER hitter in 3,796 at-bats. That’s a whole lot of at-bats and just 871 hits to show for it. He also strikes out an obscene amount (more than 120 Ks every single year).
Would Mozeliak be willing to take on someone who you know will run into one and knock it out of the park on occasion but sacrifice poor average and high strikeouts? I’m honestly not sure.
On the other hand, you have former Brewers All Star Corey Hart. From 2007-2012 Hart was a machine for Milwaukee. He averaged nearly 24 home runs in no fewer than 419 at-bats. Average isn’t a problem for him like it is with Reynolds. In 3.675 major league at-bats Hart is a career .271 hitter.
The guy is a hitter.
So why is he potentially available to the Cardinals as a part-time player? Well, you can probably guess the reason. Injury.
The Bowling Green native missed all of 2013 and a huge chunk of 2014 (with Seattle) due to a left knee injury. Clearly I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV so I can’t sit here and tell you what his medical prognosis is. Is Hart healthy? Is he not? Is this injury something that could severely affect him in 2015 as well?
I’m not privy to those answers.
I find it hard to believe even if Hart is completely healthy a team would give him a contract that pays him to be an everyday starter. As good as he is, he hasn’t done it since 2012.
It might be best for Hart, financially, to sign a one year deal as a bench player to reestablish his value and try and sign a bigger deal next offseason. But that’s only if he’s healthy enough to do even that.
The winter is far from over so there’s plenty of time for Mozeliak to find Matt Adams a right-handed compliment at 1st base. Who will it be? How much upside will he have?