The St. Louis Cardinals are a mess. In genuinely stunning fashion, the Cardinals non-tendered Juan Yepez this off-season. Sure, he struggled this year in only 28 games, but he's only 25 years old and isn't that far removed from a dynamic debut in 2022.
As the old adage goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.
The Astros should take a flier on Juan Yepez this off-season
The Astros have a very depleted farm system. They have some potential there, but it's not like their chock-full of prospects beating down the door. One way to make up for that is to nail cast-offs and prospects other teams have abandoned.
Enter Juan Yepez.
Yepez debuted in 2022 for St. Louis, and he looked like he was going to be a stud there for a long time. After hitting 38 bombs at AAA across 142 games in 2021 and 2022, Yepez had a very solid rookie season for the Cardinals.
In 76 games, Yepez hit .253 with 12 home runs, 13 doubles, and a .742 OPS and 109 OPS+. He went 2-5 with a bomb in the 2022 Wild card game against Philadelphia. Yes, he's a poor defender in the outfield, but his power made up for that. He has potential as a DH/1B in the future.
Yepez then played only 28 games with the big league club in 2023. The Cardinals would have been very wise to trade Yepez after his 2022 debut. With so many young prospects coming up, he didn't have a position to play, but he still had great value. Instead they forced him to spend the year in AAA as they tried to fit so many prospects in the lineup out of position.
Now he can be had for nothing. Houston should jump on the chance. Let's be clear--it's entirely possible Yepez doesn't pan out. His best baseball could be behind him. Or he could be an infamous AAAA player.
But he's only 25 years old. He isn't that far removed from a dynamic debut in 2022. The list of young talent teams dump that pan out elsewhere is a mile long. Nolan Jones just exploded in Colorado this year after getting out of Cleveland. Heck, look what J.D. Martinez did after making some swing tweaks as the Astros parted ways with him.
Yepez hits the baseball hard. He's young and has promise. Maybe he finds something new to tap into. Maybe he doesn't. But as Houston looks to rebuild their depleted farm system, they have to find talent.
At worst, Yepez is a better option off the bench than Jon Singleton. If he has the chance to break out after getting out of the mess that is St. Louis, the Astros could have their DH/1B of the future.
He's worth the flier. The Astros have made a habit of turning cast-offs into key pieces here. From Will Harris to Mauricio Dubón, Charlie Morton to Colin McHugh, Houston has repeatedly gotten key contributions from passed over talent.
Juan Yepez could be next in line. The Astros should take the flier this off-season.