The St. Louis Cardinals made things interesting in 2021, but the club wasn’t able to advance beyond the Wild Card round of the postseason.
St. Louis is going to enter the 2022 season with a new manager after Mike Shildt was fired and Oliver Marmol was promoted, but Marmol probably isn’t the only one who will be in a new situation with the Cardinals next season.
Several players who are currently free agents will likely find themselves with St. Louis in 2022, too.
Today, we’re going to take a stab at predicting a few players who could be wearing a Cardinals uniform next season.
Let’s get started.
3. Jon Lester (Re-Sign)
Jon Lester was traded to the Cardinals at the 2021 deadline, and it ended up being a worthwhile addition for the club.
His Cardinals stint started with two rocky outings, but from that point on, he managed to post a 3.40 ERA over his final 10 starts.
He could serve as a solid back-of-the-rotation option for St. Louis next season.
We don't know where the Cardinals are going this winter but if you were making the calls and the 2 main choices were to re-sign Happ or Lester, who are you picking?
I think I'd go with Lester.
— GB (@CrashStL) September 20, 2021
There has been some speculation about whether or not Lester is going to return to baseball in 2022 or call it quits on his playing days, but if he does decide to return, it’s probably worth keeping an eye on the Cardinals as a potential landing spot.
2. Trevor Story
The Cardinals pursued Trevor Story at the trade deadline, but nothing came to fruition.
Could this offseason be different?
MLB insider Mark Feinsand thinks it’s a possibility.
“If Story is willing to take a shorter-term deal to re-establish his value, St. Louis could look to pair him with former teammate [Nolan] Arenado on the left side of the infield,” Feinsand wrote for MLB.com. “Signing Story (or another shortstop) might require a trade of Paul DeJong, who has two years and $15 million left on his contract (plus a pair of club options in 2024-25).”
Story and Arenado played together for many years on the Colorado Rockies, and the idea of a reunion might be enough to convince Story to sign with the Cardinals.
Over five MLB seasons, Story has a career .272 batting average, .863 OPS, and 112 OPS+.
He averages 34 home runs per 162 games.
Whether he lands with St. Louis or a different team, he’s going to be a hot commodity this winter.
1. Max Scherzer
Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, and Dakota Hudson figure to occupy four of the Cardinals’ rotation spots in 2022, and as mentioned earlier, Lester could be a candidate for the fifth spot.
But what if St. Louis opts to go in a different direction?
The club could certainly make some waves by signing Max Scherzer, who is reportedly open to the possibility.
“Scherzer, who now lives near the Cardinals’ complex in Jupiter, Fla., would entertain an offer from the Cardinals this winter, a source confirmed,” wrote Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Needless to say, Scherzer would be a massive addition for the Cardinals.
The future Hall of Famer went on a historic run with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2021 regular season, posting a 0.78 ERA over his first nine starts with the team.
Max Scherzer, Unfair 88mph Slider…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/ald5CxQSv4
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 27, 2021
It’s clear that he still has plenty left in the tank.