Cardinals acquire Matt Adams from Nationals, bolster roster for playoff push

On August 21st, the St. Louis Cardinals (3.5 games back in the NL Central and .5 back in the NL Wild Card race) acquired 1B Matt Adams from the Washington Nationals. Adams, who is a familiar face in St. Louis, having started his career there, is slashing .257/.332/.510 in 94 games this season. He is the owner of 18 homers and 48 RBIs, as well as a wRC+ of 123.

I reached out to our resident Cardinals analyst, Matt Dixon for his thoughts on the transaction.

Overall, do you think this is a good move for the Cardinals?

Everyone’s favorite answer on this one is “It depends”. If we get the Matt Adams that played before the All-Star break, this is an absolute fantastic deal, but if we get the Matt Adams from the past month, it won’t help much at all. Adams before the All-Star break was an All-Star candidate, but his numbers over the past thirty days (8/54, .148 AVG, .233 OBP), indicate that he might be a little burned out. Even a little worse is that Adams is 0 for his last 21 at the plate.

The good news is that Adams is having the best year defensively he’s had in the majors at first base with a .997 fielding percentage and that is something the Cardinals definitely need.

If I had my head on a guillotine right now, I think we get a solid defensive first baseman who will contribute at the plate somewhere in between his pre All-Star break form and his current form.

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What role do you see Adams playing on the team going forward?

I think it depends on which Matt Adams we get as mentioned above. I see Adams as solely a first baseman who will be used sporadically. At the end of the day, I don’t expect Shildt to completely just throw Adams in as an everyday guy.

It’s very possible that he does if Adams performs, but I think he’ll rotate with Matt Carpenter and Jose Martinez. Martinez has shown he’s willing to be flexible with him playing in the outfield, and Carpenter is just a total gamer and willing to play wherever needed to help the team win, which is nothing but great.

Adams is on an expiring contract. Any chance that the Cardinals try/want to keep him after the (hopefully) postseason?

If the price is right, they’ll bring back anybody. I’m still holding out and praying that the Cardinals try and swing a deal for Nolan Arenado in the winter. If they have to give up someone like Jose Martinez or one/more of their highly-rated corner infield prospects like Patrick Wisdom (Nolan Gorman and Elehuris Montero should be the only untouchable prospect infielders), it doesn’t hurt to bring back Adams as that savvy veteran who can help coach up some young players.

As much as I want it, I do not believe they’ll make that trade, get Donaldson or someone like that, and let Adams walk in free agency as they’ll be overloaded on corner infielders at that point.

Is this enough to give St. Louis the push that they need to get into the postseason? Currently, FanGraphs is giving St. Louis 43.4% odds to make the playoffs, This projection has climbed over 30 percentage points in August alone.

I don’t think that it really moves the needle forward much, but it definitely doesn’t move it back, which at the end of the day is a good thing.

odds 8.21
NL Central Playoff odds as of August 21st, 2018 [FanGraphs]

The Cardinals are in LA tonight and tomorrow to finish out a series with the Dodgers before traveling to Denver to take on the Rockies for a 3 game weekend set.

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