I wrote a few weeks ago that the Cardinals should trade for Phillies ace Cole Hamels, as they need an ace atop their rotation. Some Cardinals fans opined that Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn were good enough and they didn't need Hamels. Since his rough April, Hamels has been the best pitcher in the National League over the last 30 days.
Today, I am speculating that the Cardinals should make an offer for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. With the news that first baseman Matt Adams will be out for the next 3-4 months, and possibly the rest of the season, the Cardinals now have to turn to Mark Reynolds. Reynolds has plenty of power, as he has hit 20 or more home runs in seven straight seasons, eclipsing the 30 home runs three times from 2009-2011. But with all of those home runs, you also get lots of swing and miss, as he owns a 32% strikeout rate in his career.
This season, he is hitting .250-.314-.406 with 3 home runs, 10 runs scored and 12 RBI in 105 plate appearances. He is striking out at a 33% rate once again, so he probably isn't an everyday player, much to the chagrin of Reynolds owners.
So, what should the Cardinals do?
I say Cardinals GM John Mozeliak calls up Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and make an offer for first baseman Ryan Howard. Amaro Jr. has been pretty vocal about his willingness to take on some of Howard's salary in any deal, but he may have to take on the majority of the approximate $51million remaining on his $125 million contract over the next two seasons. Even then, they probably wouldn't have to give up much in return for Howard. Maybe a low level pitching prospect. Certainly not one of their top 10 prospects.
This season, Howard is hitting .255-.298-.519 with 10 home runs, 16 runs scored and 24 RBI in 172 plate appearances. Howard is from St. Louis, so it would be a bit of a homecoming for him. I get that the Cardinals probably don't see Howard as all that great a player, but he still has power and despite playing for some bad Phillies teams over the last few seasons, he still drives in runs.
Before Cardinals fans dismiss this idea, here are their 2015 stats compared:
Adams: .243-.281-.375, 4 HRs, 12 runs, 20 RBI, 153 PA
Howard: .255-.298-.519, 10 HRs, 16 runs, 24 RBI, 172 PA
They are pretty similar players this season. Adams is probably the better overall hitter, but he's never hit more than 17 home runs or driven in more than 68 runs in any of his 2.5 big league seasons, while Howard has hit 20 or more home runs in eight of his ten major league seasons, and is well on his way to another 20+ home run season.
Or would you rather have this first baseman:
Player X: .238-.287-.423, 8 HRs, 20 runs, 17 RBI, 178 PA
His name: Albert Pujols
How the mighty have fallen.
Heck, the Cardinals could ask for Hamels and Howard in a package deal, with the Phillies taking on most of Howard's contract and some of Hamels contract. But, that would require the Cardinals giving up a few of their top young players/prospects, such as Alex Reyes and Randal Grichuk.
What do Cardinals fans think? Should they trade for Howard? Or, trade for Howard and Hamels? Or sit tight and see how Reynolds fares in a full time role?