A few days after the blockbuster Nolan Arenado trade and “the dust settled”—in Cardinals manager Mike Shildt’s words—the skipper called prospect third baseman Nolan Gorman to hear his view of the deal that could cause movement for him.
Gorman, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound lefthanded hitter likely headed for Double-A Springfield, already had an idea in mind. He joked about it on social media, then proposed it to the Cardinals: Could he report early to spring training and take those first reps—at second base?
Drafted 19th overall in 2018 out of high school in Phoenix, he played at two Class A levels in 2019 and hit .248/.326/.439 with 15 home runs in 125 games.
“Nolan has expectation of playing and competing and helping this club win, and he’s confident he can do that,” Shildt said. But he’s also really, really honest about saying, ‘You know what? I’ll be fine. I’ll figure out another path. If second base is part of that path, then let’s go to work.’ ”
During group work, Gorman lined up behind an eight-time Gold Glove winner in Arenado to follow his footsteps in drills at third. Arenado can opt out after the 2021 or 2022 season—which would leave third open for Gorman.
Gorman will continue to be a priority at that position, but the Cardinals, optimistic Arenado will stay through his eight-year contract, are plotting different paths for Gorman.
Halfway through spring training, Gorman had yet to see a game at second base, but the team felt he was nimble enough at the position to play it without risk of injury. Gorman was also working out in left field.
While Gorman may not necessarily be the Cardinals’ third baseman of the future, his power makes him equally promising at another position.
— Caution continues to be the rule as the Cardinals choose a role for righthander Alex Reyes, once a fixture atop prospect rankings as one of the top pitchers in the minors. After the shortened season and three years limited by injury, the Cardinals imagine Reyes throwing 100 innings in 2021—targeting his long-awaited arrival to the rotation for 2022.
— On the eve of spring training, the Cardinals traded for Mets catcher Ali Sanchez, a strong defensive prospect who brought depth to the team at Triple-A and could challenge to get some time as Yadier Molina’s backup.