In the short term, Mark Reynolds is likely to step into the position of first, though his career .230/.324/.456 slash line isn't likely intriguing to a team that is vying to win the National League Central and go deep into the playoffs.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was almost immediately mentioned as a possible trade candidate for the Cardinals, as he is playing for a team that not only has the fourth-worst record in baseball, but is almost guaranteed to sell at the trade deadline.
Howard is from St. Louis. He was born in Missouri and went to high school and college in Missouri. With Howard having complete no-trade rights due to the 10-and-5 rule (10 years in the big leagues; at least five with one club), St. Louis would be a spot that many think he would waive a trade to.
However, a Twitter follower of mine did bring up a good point. @JasonWeisel noted that Howard has had some family issues, including an ugly legal fight where his brother attempted to sue him for just under $3 million. Could that cause Howard not to want to move back home and want to be traded elsewhere, if not stay with the Phillies? That could play an interesting role.
The need is there and the fit could be there. But I'm not fully convinced that Ryan Howard will draw any interest from the Cardinals for multiple reasons.
St. Louis is a team that focuses a lot on defense, which, to put it lightly, Howard does not have. Howard has been worth a horrid -55 defensive runs saved in his career, and is at a -3 mark this season. That is why many believe that Howard is bound to be traded to an American League team and DH.
Reynolds, on the other hand, is much better, being worth -12 defensive runs saved at first and 2 this season.
Howard is also signed through next season with a team option for 2017, which could add complications for when Matt Adams does return to action. If Adams comes back healthy, does Howard become a bench player for the Cardinals? Or do they try and trade him in a possible contract year? Those are questions that club officials will have to answer .
With a .256/.298/.519/.817 line, Howard has experiences somewhat of a revival this season, posting the highest wRC+ since he hit 33 home runs in 2011. Howard already has 10 homers this season and has driven in 24 runs.
At Busch Stadium, Howard has been a pitcher-killer, slashing .341/.468/.643/1.111 in 156 plate appearances, hitting 11 homers and 39 runs batted in.
On paper, a deal for Ryan Howard would make a lot of sense for the Cardinals. But, with anything, there are always some downsides, which could mean that the Cardinals are not the best fit if Howard is eventually dealt.