During their 6-4 win over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals lost first baseman Matt Adams to an injury, and according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, the injury could keep Adams out for a while.
After the game, Matheny acknowledged that he has a "high level of concern" regarding the severity of the injury and the time it could cost Adams.
Adams pulled up just after rounding first base and hobbled to second for a one-out double while grabbing at the quad. Assistant athletic trainer Chris Conroy met Adams there and, after a brief consultation, ushered him back to the dugout.
Mark Reynolds entered the game and took over at first base for Adams. And right now, if the Cardinals don't make another move, it is Reynolds who would become the team's everyday first baseman. He is hitting .250/.314/.406 so far this year with three homers and 12 RBIs in 105 PAs, good for an fWAR of 0.5.
Adams, meanwhile, had struggled this year, hitting .243/.281/.374 with just four homers and 20 RBIs in 153 PAs, with an fWAR of 0.1. His wOBA was a meager .285 and his wRC+ was just 79.
Surely, St. Louis will ride with Reynolds for a little while and see how it goes. And with the pixie dust that is usually sprinkled upon that organization, he'll probably become a 3-win player and hit 30 homers.
But just in case he doesn't, the Phillies have the perfect solution to their problem.
That would be St. Louis native Ryan Howard.
Howard's resurgence this year has been well documented. He's batting .261/.304/.529 with 10 HRs and 24 RBIs, with a wOBA of .355 and a wRC+ of 124, worth 0.6 fWAR, already his highest total since 2011.
Since April 24th, Howard has been terrific, hitting .291/.333/.624 with all 10 homers hit during that span.
Even better, Howard has always loved hitting at Busch Stadium, posting a career 1.111 OPS there in 34 career games. The only park that he's done better in is Camden Yards, with a 1.326 OPS, however, he's only played three games there. His slash line playing in St. Louis is .341/.468/.643 with 11 career HRs.
And with Howard now a 10-5 guy, he can refuse any trade, but it's likely he'd accept a deal to go play in his home town for an organization that could get him into one more World Series.
Why would the Cardinals do it? Well, Adams would have to be out for more than just a few weeks. They would only make the move if it was a long-term injury. Their best minor league option is first baseman Xavier Scruggs, who is hitting .212/.360/.462 in AAA with 7 HRs in 164 PAs.
But it makes sense for St. Louis for two reasons. One, the Cardinals have been devoid of power for the last two years, finishing 29th out of 30 teams in homers last year with just 105. Only the Royals had less. They're a bit better this year, tied for 22nd in homers.
Two, it likely wouldn't cost the Cardinals much in terms of money or prospects. The Phils would likely pick up the vast majority of the approximately $50 million left on Howard's deal, and the Phils likely wouldn't be requiring a top prospect, although it's reasonable to assume a B-level prospect would be expected.
In the end, this probably won't get done. Howard still makes the most sense going to an American League team to be a designated hitter. But if there is one NL team that can deal with Howard's subpar defense at first in exchange for an uptick in power, it's St. Louis.
It's not crazy.