For Cards' outfield, first Fowler, now ... Fuld?

St. Louis could take low-risk chance on rehabbing free agent

For Cards' outfield, first Fowler, now ... Fuld?

ST. LOUIS -- Aside from the buzz generated by the recent Winter Classic at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals have been quiet since introducing Dexter Fowler at a Dec. 9 press conference.

To assume, however, that the organization's offseason work is done would be erroneous. General manager John Mozeliak and his staff remain engaged in the free-agent and trade landscapes, ready to pounce if the cost and fit is right. And with five weeks remaining until Spring Training opens, that's likely to happen.

Hot Stove Tracker asked its beat reporters to offer a bold prediction about a potential coming transaction for the club he or she covers. So here's mine:

The Cardinals will take a flyer on rehabbing free-agent Sam Fuld to fortify their outfield depth.

Fowler may have been the biggest catch of the offseason, but the Cardinals' work in the outfield market shouldn't end there. In particular, the organization could benefit from adding a left-handed-hitting outfielder to complement the right-handed bats the Cards have with Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk and Tommy Pham. (Fowler is a switch-hitter.)

The free-agent market isn't ripe with options, and one potential trade fit (Jarrod Dyson) was eliminated when Kansas City sent the speedy center fielder to Seattle in a deal last week. Still available, though, is Fuld, who is working his way back after a 2016 season missed due to a rotator cuff injury.

Signing Fuld wouldn't generate many headlines, but it could offer a low-cost, low-risk move that would give the Cardinals an additional backup option. Given that he's coming off surgery and may not be wrapped up with his rehab by Opening Day, Fuld may even be willing to sign a Minor League deal laced with incentives.

For a Cardinals club seeking to add athleticism and above-average defenders, Fuld fits the mold. He posted +9 Defensive Runs Saved in '15 and averaged a DRS of +6 over his last five seasons. His ability to play all three outfield spots would provide welcome flexibility, too.

If the Cardinals don't make another addition, they would be left with Jose Martinez and Anthony Garcia as realistic fifth outfielder options. Garcia has never played in the big leagues and Martinez has 12 games of Major League experience to his name.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.