Cardinals are Surprising Losers in Aaron Judge Free Agency Saga

Tyler Maher
Why the St. Louis Cardinals are surprising losers in the Aaron Judge free agency saga.
Why the St. Louis Cardinals are surprising losers in the Aaron Judge free agency saga. / ASSOCIATED PRESS
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On the surface, Aaron Judge going back to the New York Yankees seems like a good thing for the St. Louis Cardinals. He's not coming to the National League, after all, so the Cardinals won't have to worry about facing him as often.

In the end, though, Judge's decision could wind up being bad news for St. Louis after all.

The San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants were both finalists for Judge, but ultimately lost out. Now they're both expected to be aggressive in pursuing a star shortstop, which means they'll likely end up with Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and/or Dansby Swanson.

This isn't great for the Cardinals, however, who are expected to compete with the Giants and Padres for a playoff spot next year. If both teams improve by adding a star shortstop, it will only make St. Louis' postseason path that much harder. There was also some belief at the start of free agency that St. Louis themselves could target one of the star shortstop free agents, but their GM shot that notion down.

Thankfully for Cardinals fans, their team isn't standing still, either. St. Louis inked All-Star catcher Willson Contreras to a five-year deal on Wednesday, giving the roster a much-needed offensive boost behind the plate in the wake of Yadier Molina's retirement.

Contreras will join reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in the heart of the order. The Cardinals are hopeful that Contreras -- who won a World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 2016 -- can help St. Louis win a title as well. The Cards currently have the 10th-best championship odds on FanDuel Sportsbook's MLB odds.

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