I could hear fans all over St. Louis today asking the friend that told them the player that was traded to the Cardinals today: “Wait…did you say Halladay or Holliday?” I spent the entire All-Star Break trying to convince everyone that the bat plugged a more important hole than the arm, and at a more affordable price. Mozeliak agreed, and today the Cardinals inked the slugger for the rest of the season. It cost the organization Brett Wallace, along with OF Shane Peterson and right-handed sinkerballer Clayton Mortenson. After Oakland pitched in to help pay the 6 million still owed to Holliday this season, the Cardinals only paid 4.5 million for this season’s rental.
Two hours in and I’m tired of hearing about how this trade is identical to the Mulder trade. With baseball, all you can do is try to make a move to help the ballclub make a playoff run. Mulder ended up being injured, which really couldn’t have been reasonably foreseen. It was a move made in good faith that happened to fall on its head because of circumstances.
This trade is the same: Tony La Russa has been clamoring for this cleanup bat for some time, and he recognizes it’s what the team needs. I think a pitcher can absolutely change the dynamic of a playoff race, simply look to CC Sabathia last season. But with Carpenter and Wainwright being as sharp as they are, you have to assume that those two guys anchor a rotation just fine. However Ryan Ludwick, as well as he’s been swinging the bat, is not who you want in important games down the stretch behind Pujols. We need some run support for these pitchers. When you can have a pitcher that has a 3.09 ERA but still has a losing record (Piniero), it seems to me that you would want to generate more runs.
The Cardinals fixed several holes with their clever deadline additions: A lack of 3B production, a lack of a potent cleanup hitter, and a clear SB guy. I don’t feel the rotation or the bullpen needs pre-empted any of these needs, except I would have taken a fifth starter over Lugo. I think the price was right on all three of the acquisitions.
The trades will make Tony salivate, giving him even more ingredients to change while trotting out a new lineup card every night. The hardest part for me is who to put in front of the pitcher. TLR doesn’t like Molina for speed reasons, so I think it will typically go to De Rosa or the 3rd OF. Plus De Rosa and Lugo’s infield flexibility make players like Barden, Thurston, and Hoffpauir much less valuable. Brendan Ryan, however, is still the best option at SS because his range is superior to Lugo’s since he’s been beaten up the past couple years. If Glaus comes up, it will even result in only more options for the outfield and maybe the hot corner.
Looking forward, if the Redbirds are blessed with good health, they will have an exciting run toward the postseason.
De Rosa 3B
De Rosa 3B