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Two (2) Cardinals Tickets - Two (2) tickets to a Monday - Thursday home game during the 2016 regular season. Exclusive Members-Only Offers - Members should stay tuned to their email for special discounted offers! Rawlings Replay - Be sure to donate your new or gently-used baseball and softball equipment at Busch Stadium for a free prize or special vouchers for tickets to a 2016 Cardinals game! Membership fee for Cardinals Kids Club is $30.00 (this includes renewal members), plus a $2 processing fee and a $5 shipping and handling fee. If pitching is the priority -- and in the wake of the Lance Lynn elbow surgery, you can certainly argue that it ought to be -- the Cardinals could make a serious play for David Price or Zack Greinke. All right, maybe the above is enough for many of the Cardinals fans reading this to be defiantly anti-Davis.
Not that Davis will come come cheap, but, because of their disparate ages, the investment does not portend to be quite as outlandish. I say "arguably" because, really, none of us knows if we can assume the small-sample 2015 stat lines of Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty are able to be extrapolated to full-season stat lines for 2016. While I recognize that Matt Holliday is only under contract for another year and that the Cards could find themselves in the market for a corner-outfield bat a year from now if they don't retain Heyward, I'll repeat that there are very real questions about Heyward's long-term ability to provide corner-outfield-worthy production.
This is a club with a sub-.400 slugging percentage iun each of the past two years and one that hasn't had a 30-homer hitter since 2012 (Carlos Beltran).
Though there are other power hitters at the top end of the free-agent market, the major defensive and consistency questions associated with Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton are cause for some worry (and, again, it's an open question whether the outfield ought to be the area of emphasis, anyway).
Davis is selective at the plate (his walk rate was the 13th-best in baseball this year), he has power to all fields, his isolated power mark since 2012 is second only to that of Giancarlo Stanton, he can produce against same-sided pitching and, based on true distance, all but two of his 47 home runs in 2015 would have cleared the wall at Busch Stadium -- a tough place to go deep. If committing big money to a power hitter in his 30s is risky, committing similar or more money to a pitcher entering his post-prime years isn't much, if at all, easier to stomach.


Not that I would use this as a guiding principle in my free-agent forays or anything, but let's just throw this out there: The designated-hitter rule is likely to, at the very least, be a topic of discussion in the next round of collective bargaining after 2016.
Membership fee for Cardinals Varsity Club is $35.00, plus a $2 processing fee and a $5 shipping and handling fee. With a gargantuan new local television deal set to kick in two seasons from now, the Cards have the financial muscle to sign at least one premium free agent this offseason, if they choose. Are we absolutely certain he'll continue to get a therapeutic-use exemption for stimulant medicine? Though defensively sound enough to continue to handle his position now, he might be better suited toward the American League in the long run. He's tied to Draft-pick compensation, whereas retaining Heyward wouldn't hurt the Cardinals in that regard. But if they are, the Cardinals' outfield might just be fine -- especially if Tommy Pham can remain healthy enough to reliably serve as a fourth outfielder. They could sign Heyward and have Piscotty form some sort of platoon with Matt Adams and Brandon Moss. Even with his drastic 2014 dip taken into account, Davis has averaged a .533 slugging percentage over the past four seasons. This is the most prolific power hitter in the game right now, and he'd look awfully nice in the middle of the lineup. Thankfully, the current market affords the Cardinals a wealth of options to patch up their rotation beyond Adam Wainwright, with value to be found among the Mike Leakes, Scott Kazmirs and Yovani Gallardos of the world. But they're going to gain at least one and possibly two compensation-round picks, depending on what happens with John Lackey and Heyward.
Voucher must be redeemed by August 31st 2016 (can be redeemed online or at the Busch Stadium Ticket Windows).


If a bat is bound to be the bigger expenditure -- and you can make an equally solid argument that it ought to be -- the current line of thought is that the Cards will make every effort to retain Jason Heyward, an attractive hitter on his own. I don't know if Jack Weinberg had it right that we shouldn't trust anyone over 30, but trusting power hitters over 30 has proved precarious in many instances.
We don't exactly have ample evidence from the first six seasons of his career that Heyward has a major power surge ahead of him, and his defensive value could deteriorate rapidly with continued wear and tear.
The Cardinals haven't had a player achieve a slugging percentage that high in a single season since 2011.
The Cards have pieced together their starting five without one of those splashy free-agent aces in the past, and they might have to do so again if the Price or Greinke price tags don't prove to be palatable. Maybe the DH will come to the NL during the life of the Davis deal (that sound you hear is my email account being barraged with hate mail).
If they prioritize Heyward in their considerations, that isn't a bad decision, by any means. Because this is the kind of player the Cards need to continue to contend for the crown in an obviously dynamic National League Central, and opportunities to nab this kind of player aren't always in abundance. But right now, the Cards need better than league average, for reasons we'll get into in the next point.



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