It’s kind of early to be posting this while the deadline is over two weeks away, but considering the Cards have yet to make a move, I feel the best time to post this is before anything happens. I’d like to make a note that I do not think the Cards will make a trade and I am more than ok with that. Anyway, onto the potential trade pieces that the Cards could use to trade for a future player. Before I start, I’ll make a note about players who will not be traded:
Jaime Garcia, with a newly signed contract, is most definitely off-limits. He’s a non-starter. Teams won’t even mention his name anymore. Obviously Adam Wainwright, on the 60 day DL, is quite literally unable to be traded (Can’t trade anyone on the DL though there are ways around it – Not in this case where Wainwright will not heal before season is over). Yadier Molina, anchor of the pitching staff and a surprisingly decent bat, is another one who will just not be traded.
Albert Pujols, who now qualfies for the 10 and 5 rule (10 years in league, last 5 with same team – You can veto any trade), is not even going to accept a trade, as he’s said, if we for some reason trade him. David Freese has performed better than expected, in a very limited amount of time, and is very cheap and affordable. Matt Holliday is under a 7-year-contract right now and is only in his second year so it’d be dumb for them to trade him while his contract is not dead weight (yet). That covered everybody that the Cards would not trade.
My next group of players is a group who the Cards would like to trade but nobody will be calling. That list starts and ends with the worst starting second baseman in the league, Skip Schumacher. Sorry ladies, but a player with awful defense and a .313 OBP, even in a league-wide offensive slump and from a middle infielder, is not playable or tradeable with a $2.7 million contract. So that covers bad offensively, bad defensively, and bad financially.
Jake Westbrook, as of this moment, offers zero value on the trade market. He is getting $8 million this year and 5.34 ERA so far. I’m not saying he won’t turn it around, but he won’t turn it around by July 31. Kyle Lohse, bless his soul for a career renaissance, is still getting paid about what he deserves as he regresses to his 2008 level of talent. Plus he has another year next year. Not many teams looking to swoop up market value pitchers at best.
Ryan Theriot I suppose should have gotten a shout-out next to Schumaker. He plays worse defense than Schumaker and only has a slightly better bat. Yes his average is pretty shiny, but he barely walks and has next to zero power. To top it off, Theriot is getting paid $3.3 million. That about covers the two groups of players that will simply not be traded no matter the offer. The rest of the group contains players that other teams would give up players or prospects for and the Cardinals would be open to it.
Colby Rasmus – Well, I might make a post before the trade deadline assessing Colby Rasmus. At this point, I haven’t revealed my true feelings on him. So whoever is reading this is wondering what side I’m on. Well, to spoil the future post, I am on Colby Rasmus’ side. Anyway, he would net the most in a trade even with his decreased value. However, with three cost-controlled years and three already proven above average years of production (Some would debate this. However, he’s on pace for an above average year even assuming he doesn’t step it up which he will), it is simply not smart to trade him at this point. For one, his real value will not match the value we get in a trade. That’s all I’ll say about this issue.
Chris Carpenter – It may seem odd that I have him second. Again, I sort of stray from the general opinion that Carpenter is having a down year. I feel like he’s been pretty much the same pitcher as last year with a little bit less luck. A lot less luck if you put any value on a win-loss record (and I don’t). His K/9 is very slightly lower but so are his walk rate and his home run rate. His ERA has taken a hit, but if he continues at this pace, I don’t expect that to continue. In some respects, he’s arguably had a better year than last year. Anyway, my point is that he has a buyout next year and any contender looking for a quick fix at starter (Hello Yankees?!) would give up a solid haul for him even at his price. But, as a contender ourself, that probably won’t happen.
Lance Berkman – Berkman would net more in value than Carpenter actually. He is a 1B/DH and some AL teams could use a hitter of his caliber. He is getting paid $8 million and the price tag would be minimal. Teams may question if his current performance will continue and his injury status. But that’s almost as much reason to trade him. Again, we are a contender so this won’t happen nor do I hope it will happen.
John Jay – This is a sensitive subject. I’ll tread carefully. Jay is probably at the highest value he’ll ever get. Both his minor league stats and his current performance suggest this is not the Jon Jay we will get in the future. He strikes out in nearly 18% of his plate appearances. Now to attain a high average, one either has to be Ichiro, hit a lot of homers, or barely ever strike out. Well Ichiro is a once-in-a-lifetime player so I’m going to cancel that option out. Jay has hit 7 homers, but his career high is 11 and that was in the hitter friendly Springfield AA (where all lefties mash). So that’s not an option either. Anyway, my point is that if a suitable trade comes along (for instance, NOT the overrated Heath Bell), trade John Jay. We already have Rasmus, Holliday, Craig, and a glut of outfielder prospects after them. For the record, I forgot to point out above, but Allen Craig is on the DL so he’s not an option either.
Shelby Miller – Unless you don’t follow prospects AT ALL, you’ve probably seen his name a few times. He’s probably the #1 pitching prospect in baseball (so says supposed Cardinals hater Keith Law). He strikes out over a batter per inning. He has a mid-90s fastball consistently throughout the game with a good changeup and a great curve. Basically, he’s almost a sure thing to be at least an above average player. He could easily get Jose Reyes by himself. Now, let’s stop for a minute. Do we really want to trade a 19-year-old who is dominating in AA (again a HITTER’S PARK) for a rental? I’m going to go with no.
Carlos Martinez – Martinez is at an interesting stage. He’s not quite the untradeable, guarantee that Miller is. He’s more of a pitcher that could literally become an ace or could literally never make it to the majors. So he’s a big question mark. There are a few things that support this. He’s 5’11 for one. We don’t know how his shoulder will hold up. Other things make him appealing: his high 90s fastball, his devastating curve (and having seen it at the Futures Game, it IS devastating), his stats also. I personally would not trade him, but if he’s traded, unlike Shelby Miller, I can reason with it because he’s not yet proven and has as much a likelihood to flame out as become an ace, maybe greater.
That’s about the list of players the Cards could trade. Anybody else and it’s likely the trade will involve a reliever which is of little impact usually. The Cards don’t need much in my opinion. They could use a reliable middle infielder and a LOOGY, but the rest of the team is stacked. If there’s a major trade, one of these players will be involved. This exercise was purely for fun, not for likelihood.