May 30, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak talks on his phone as the field crew preps the field after a rain delay during a game against the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium. Kansas City defeated St. Louis 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Season Makes Strange Bedfellows

It is a little more than a month away from the trade deadline.  This is the time of year when talk heats up about who may be traded away and who may be traded for.  Lots of speculation, discussion, and sometimes vehement disagreements.  Regardless of the talk, it is always an interesting time.

I have been keeping an eye and an ear out for all the trade talk.  The thing about me is that I like to comment about other people’s trade proposals, but I am not keen on making many of my own.  The reasons behind this are that I just don’t feel knowledgeable enough to be able to determine the trade value of particular players.  I believe I know a lopsided trade proposal when I see one, so I will occasionally opine on one of those, but I generally don’t propose my own.  I think for the most part fans will overvalue their own players and undervalue everyone else’s.  That is the reason for the lopsided proposals.

Then there are those who simply want to trade certain players for whatever they can get. The reasons for these are varied, and I will address some of them in this post.  If you fall into one of the groups I will be discussing, don’t take it personally.  I think some of the thoughts fans have are understandable (though some are not) but are just impractical or not feasible. Remember please these are just my own opinions I am expressing; they are not based on any enhanced bank of knowledge on my part.  I’m not that conceited.

First there is the Matt Holliday Church of Overpaid and Not Clutch.  There is this group of fans (I actually suspect they are organized and have their own newsletter) who simply can’t stand Matt Holliday.  For those I have encountered they generally fall into several groups (with overlap by many).  There is the (a) he is overpaid; (b) he is not clutch; (c) he’s old and fading; (d) he’s terrible at defense; and (e) he chokes in the playoffs.  For these folks, trading Matt Holliday is paramount. Aside from the fact that I believe none of the aforementioned parenthetical thoughts to be accurate, there is also the practical aspect of that full no trade clause he has in his contract.  Now, while a no trade clause can always be waived by the player, there generally has to be some incentive for that player to do so.  I see very little incentive for Matt.  Making more money elsewhere is certainly one incentive, but the likelihood that Matt can exceed his current deal elsewhere is very low.  Add to that the fact that Matt plays for a consistently winning team, he seems to be satisfied to do so, and he and his family relocated to St Louis and have settled down here for the duration.  Why would he agree to be traded?  No, I think the Matt Holliday Church of Overpaid and Not Clutch are going to be sadly disappointed.

David Freese seems to be the topic of a lot of trade speculation, both by fans and the media. I can understand why.  Freese is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility with a price tag that only seems destined to go up.  In addition, there is a log jam of players and no place to put them. The Cardinals have Matt Carpenter, who is playing well and is still cost controlled for a couple of more years.  Carp is currently exceeding expectations at second base, but third base is Carp’s natural position.  At AAA the Cardinals have Kolten Wong, the club’s top second base prospect. Many believe Wong will emerge on the big club by next season if not sooner.  If that occurs, Matt Carpenter will have to play another position and that most likely position is third base.  The position that David Freese now occupies.  Most of the people talking about trading Freese are doing so for that reason.  It seems logical. There is also a very small contingent that simply don’t like David Freese.  It’s hard to imagine that’s the case, but they do exist.  So those two groups are strongly advocating trading Freese in the near future.  The position logjam is certainly a compelling reason to consider trading Freese, but let’s take a look at a practical aspect that may mitigate that somewhat. Freese is the hometown boy and the 2011 World Series hero.  He sells tickets and merchandise, at last report more than any other player on the team.  Thus, the PR hit the team might take from trading Freese could be costly.  Without knowing the exact sales figures it would be impossible for me to know whether the revenue hit would exceed the cost savings or not. Only Mr DeWitt and his money people know for sure.  In any event, only time will tell the fate of David Freese as a Cardinal.

There are varied groups calling for trading for a shortstop (Pete Kozma gets no love), starting pitching (Cliff Lee anyone?) and more bullpen help.  For those who want to keep Freese, trading Kolten Wong has been bandied about.  And The Man Without A Place, Matt Adams, has also been the subject of trade speculation.  Just for the sake of committing to something, I will say that trading for a shortstop seems less likely simply because there is a dearth of shortstops to trade for. In my opinion, Troy Tulowitski is too expensive and too injury prone (and the Rockies are in contention so why would they trade him), and Jurickson Profar is not likely to be traded unless someone gives up a boatload to get him.  I like J.J. Hardy myself, he wouldn’t be too expensive and he’s a terrific defender, but the offense minded fans would object, and frankly I don’t see why the Orioles would trade him anyway. As for Cliff Lee, I find myself in the minority when I say I wouldn’t trade for him.  Even with the Phillies eating a big part of Lee’s enormous contract, the prospect price tag would be too large for a 35 year old pitcher with limited shelf life, no matter how good he is.

No, at this point in time, I don’t see a big need to trade for anyone.  That may change.  I could see getting some more bullpen help.  There is speculation that the White Sox may be selling and that Jesse Crain may be available.  There is a bullpen arm I wouldn’t mind having if the price is right. Aside from that, I am going to be a killjoy and say just sit on what we have, unless there are more injuries and a big need arises.  But I am not a GM, and don’t play one on the Internet, so what do I know.  I only know that this post has gotten long winded and its time to close the lid.




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Tags: Cliff Lee David Freese Kolten Wong Matt Carpenter Matt Holliday St Louis Cardinals Trade Deadline

  • john weitzman

    Wow I have to say we have had our disagreements in the past BUT this article is right ON !!
    Holliday, I agree fully, and happen to like him even though he is so frustrating at clutch even though is numbers with RISP are very good.. He compliments the team with a veteran.

    Freese you said everything Ken Rosenthal tweeted about last week, I dont agree with him, at worst, we pay his arbitration till he proves he can stay healthy for a long term deal like Craig. Carpenter is beyond expectations and is a great lead off man. So If anyone should go its Wong ! OR we keep Wong and Carp is SUPERMAN in almost all positions except SS. Which leaves Adams open for a trade. Come back to that..
    Which brings up Kozma, people seem to forget he is actually doing a fine job this season far better then expected. Your right there are no decent SS available, Tulo is way to high, Profar Texas will ask for every arm on the farm,
    I am not a big Hardy fan and I dont see the Orioles letting him go and he is not much of an offence upgrade.

    You really hit the nail on the head with Jessie Crain. I have been asking about him to so many PD writers that I know and they all say the pen does not need help, WRONG !! The way the starters are faltering in June the pen is being over worked again and Crain would be an excellent veteran to help. His stats are incredible !! PD writers have to much faith that Carpenter WILL be back after the All Star game. I WOULD NOT BET ON THAT !! Not even $1..
    Here is where Adams comes in.. Along with so many arms down on the farm THAT WILL NEVER make this team. They can package a deal and sign Jessie to two years..NO MORE.. I am thinking Blair, Jenkins, Cleto, Marte, ect.. guys that can use a change of scenery. EVEN Boggs.. And there are plenty more down there with out touching Wacha, Gast, Lyons, Martinez. and others.
    We even have some good catchers that will NEVER be on this team with Yadie and Cruz.

    With Adams traded “if that happens” you can bring up Wong and Matheny can find the AB for Carpenter. OR Taveras once fully recovered MIGHT be able to finally play center and JJ can be on the bench.
    Mo has SO many options its almost overwhelming the possibilities of ways he can move things around..

    One last option, you mention Lee, I agree, he always reminds me of Carp, BUT we dont need him. We do however need another rotation guy that we can sign to a 4 year deal. I was thinking David Price. That will get a laugh.

    The rookies have done a great job, BUT since June 1 the honeymoon is over. what are they for June 11-8 ? We just cant have 3 rookie starters, its fun while it lasted buts its over.. I assume Kelly will get a try next week. BUT by mid July Kelly will have had 4 starts and Mo will then have to make some BIG decisions..

    With Westbrook, Frucal and Carpenter off the books next year, that alone will give them money to sign a deal with from a July trade for the right guy.

    Notice I left out Beltran, of course I did, I truly believe he wants to stay a Cardinal and he should as long as he is healthy and will take a pay cut. There is plenty of at bats for Beltran, Taveras, next year and Jay becomes the bench. Its mind boggling to think of all the possibilities BUT they do need more veteran pitching..
    Good read !