A .262/.340/.381 slash line may have contributed to his removal from the everyday roster in 2014 anyway, but if Freese is to leave the Gateway City, there is no other natural third baseman on the Redbirds’ roster. Matt Carpenter has spent some time there, yet he spent the best year of his career at second in 2013.
As such, the Cardinals are likely to look outside of the organisation and to free agency. Of all positions, it is arguable that third base is the least stacked, but one guy does stick out. Juan Uribe, who spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is easily the best third baseman available, at least based on his stats from last season. At the end of last week, he was named the Dodgers’ Defensive Player of the Year, and enjoyed a .278/.331/.438 slash line.
He proved last season that that he can get it done at the plate, but it is his defense that stands out. In the past two seasons, Uribe has made just nine errors, averaging one every 16 games started compared to one in every eight for Freese.
Uribe won’t be a star in St Louis, but without a truly ready prospect ready to make his way to the majors, they are forced into looking at free agency over trading. It goes against the ‘Cardinal Way’ to trade the farm for a star, while any trade with the Yankees is unlikely to include a third baseman. This is one of the Cardinals’ biggest offseason needs, and it is expected that they will take their time to make sure they make the right decision.