Having missed the playoffs in three straight seasons does not sit well in St. Louis, and that could result in the Cardinals front office making a major splash this winter.
St. Louis is "sending signals they are out to be a player" this offseason, one industry source told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Arguably the biggest free agent available is Bryce Harper, and the Cardinals reportedly intend to explore the market for the six-time All-Star, who is expected to land a deal that could exceed $300 million.
The Cardinals are coming off back-to-back third-place finishes in the National League Central, and will look to complement a solid pitching core with a strong offense. The club is in a good place financially to make a splash, as it has just $75 million in guaranteed contracts in place for the 2020 season.
"We understand that there is an opportunity in this market, and we have to be open-minded to see where that takes us," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said, according to Goold.
Harper would fit in well at right field, and give the Cardinals one of the best outfields in baseball when combined with Harrison Bader and Marcell Ozuna. St. Louis ranked 10th in the majors in home runs and 14th in OPS last season and would benefit from adding a marquee bat. Harper has hit .318/.410/.636 with five home runs, and six doubles in 19 career games at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals had ambitions of making a major move last winter, attempting to trade for both Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson before pivoting to Ozuna.