The St. Louis Cardinals find themselves in a precarious position. They have not yet collapsed to the point of trading for prospects, but they also have not sustained enough success to warrant trading for talent to help push them over the edge.
So what do they do? What can they do?
The biggest problem with the Cardinals deciding to sell is that most of the players they might like to move… Aren’t exactly going to bring in a ton in return.
The fanbase has expressed it’s distaste towards the signing of Dexter Fowler, clamoring for him to be traded away. But if he is so bad, who would want him? Now I am under the mindset of moving Fowler, but that is no easy task. He is coming off one of his best statistical offensive seasons only to follow it up with his worst offensive season (so far). I can’t imagine many teams wanting a struggling right fielder who is still owed a lot of money. Fowler has a .171/ .276/.278 slash and a -1.2 WAR according to baseball reference. The Cardinals would end up having to eat a ton of salary in order to move him.
Now there are a couple Cardinals who I can see bringing in some value. Kolten Wong while having a poor offensive year, is playing gold glove caliber defense. He still owns a career .250 batting average and at least gives you one aspect of his game that would be a vast improvement over many different players.
Another is Jose Martínez who clearly knows how to hit in this league. The only issue is he can’t field. Basically the opposite of Kolten Wong, except in J-Marts case, he can move to a American League team and DH, effectively eliminating his poor defensive ability.
Now, personally I think the Cardinals should be buyers. I’ve recently shared my take on the Matheny/Mabry situation and I think a change could be happening soon. The front office has recently showed their displeasure in how this team has performed and I fully expect the Cardinals to be active in the trade market. But who do you go after?
I recently wrote up a piece about the Mets willing to hear offers on both Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard. It was met with pretty good feedback with a majority of fans opting that DeGrom would be the best option if the Cardinals were to pursue a trade. As far as needs go, the Starting Pitching might be the least worrisome, but adding either DeGrom or Syndergaard gives you a seasoned #1 starter.
I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the Cardinals being interested in Mike Moustakas, but does he make sense for the club? Yes, if the price is right, but the Cardinals already have issues giving guys playing time on the infield as-is. Unless you trade away guys like Wong, Gyorko, or Martínez, you’re taking away at-bats from multiple players.
I’ve also recently seen rumors circulating about Nolan Arenado being unhappy in Colorado. This is an elite player with some control after this season and I’d say go for it. You’d almost have to give up either Wong or Gyorko in this deal as well as multiple top pitching prospects. It wouldn’t surprise me if a Harrison Bader or Tyler O’Neill is added to the mix as well. But this is an elite player both offensively and defensively which are both areas of concern for the Cardinals this season.
There are certainly more players the Cardinals could be players on. I wrote up a piece about potential bullpen arms the Cardinals could inquire about, which I still think they should pursue. This team right now is suffering from inconsistency in a big way. When the pieces work you can see the potential, but until most if not all of the pieces are working together, they will keep doing what they have been doing all season.
I don’t think they should be sellers simply because I don’t think they will get any sort of return for the aging players they’d need to move. This team is not terrible… Just terribly inconsistent.
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