The St. Louis Cardinals are still trying to find the right piece to improve their roster. Recent rumors have pointed to Jarrod Dyson being a possible answer to the outfield questions.
Some St. Louis Cardinals rumors have involved a deal for Lorenzo Cain from the Royals, but a different outfielder from Kansas City may do just as well. Jarrod Dyson is one of the fastest players in the league, stealing 156 bases since 2012 without ever playing in more than 120 games in a season. His speed was on heavy display as a late-inning pinch-runner during the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff runs.
Dyson will turn 33 this upcoming season. This could potentially lower his price tag and give the St. Louis Cardinals an option to start in the outfield for a year while Harrison Bader and Magnueris Sierra continue to mature and get ready to become everyday MLB players.
Another St. Louis Cardinals possibility for Dyson is for him to platoon with Tommy Pham in the outfield until the new CBA free agent rules come into play next off season. This opens the door to a stronger 2018 free agent class, with potential names like Cain, J.D. Martinez, and Carlos Gonzalez.
Dyson is set to make $3.4 million this season before becoming a free agent in 2018. This sets him perfectly as a player to stall for more proven talent. Without ever being more than a fourth outfielder in Kansas City, it has been impossible for Dyson to prove himself. Although, a 3.1 WAR in 107 games shows upside potential as a valuable starter.
Defensively, Dyson has been very good. Right now, he platoons in right with Paulo Orlando. But he is also able to play center. With a career fielding percentage of .981 he fits the bill of what John Mozeliak is looking for in a player to patrol the outfield.
As far as filling the Matt Holliday/Brandon Moss-sized hole in the batters box…let’s just say Dyson is a polar opposite. He has seven career home runs, but his contact and speed make up for the lack of power. In 2016 he hit .278 while going 30 for 37 on steals. He also hit 8 triples in 299 at-bats.
Getting Dyson is a very realistic option. With Cain holding down center field, and Orlando hitting .302, Dyson’s role appears to be shrinking for the Royals anyway. Options such as Billy Burns, Terrance Gore, and Raul Mondesi make Dyson even more expendable for Kansas City.
It won’t be the blockbuster move that some fans have been calling for, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be beneficial for the St. Louis Cardinals. It won’t cost a whole lot either. The Royals are looking for young starting pitching; something the Cardinals have.
One possible name that can be put into talks is Michael Wacha. A lot of teams are turned off from Wacha because of the problems he has suffered with his arm. At 25, there are still some useful years left in him. And for an outfielder who is not even in the starting lineup, the Royals may be willing to take a risk on the former 19th overall selection.
Another young pitching option is Ronnie Williams, the number 21-ranked prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. The 20 year old right-hander has struggled with his control. But his progression is clear in his curveball and changeup. While both of these pitches have a ways to go, they are becoming better compliments to his low-to-mid 90’s fastball. Williams gives the Royals the opportunity to mold a starter the way they want.
Two other names that can be thrown into considerations are Matt Pearce and Daniel Poncedeleon. Pearce reached Triple-A last season, while Poncedeleon was the top pitcher in Double-A Springfield. These two are mere names to sweeten the deal if anything, but they are two players that fit the picture of what the Royals are seeking.
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Ultimately, it is up to Mozeliak on what direction he wants to go. The fans have been calling for a huge move to be able to compete with the Cubs. But the Cardinals do well regardless of what the lineups look like on paper. For Dyson, it will all come down to how he fits into the rest of the team. He wouldn’t be a bad option, and St. Louis could be his first opportunity as a full-time starter.