Take 2: Shaping The NL Central


The trade deadline has come and gone and the Cardinals seem sure they have done their part to put themselves back in contention not only for the Central, but to become that more than likely only Central team to survive the harsh playoff push.

Deals were abound all across the league and the birds surprisingly enough were not a dormant team looking to just make small moves and hope it works out. They pushed pretty aggressively in a show I never imagined we would have seen.

St. Louis Cardinals:

Cardinals got:
SP – Edwin Jackson
RP – Octavio Dotel
CF – Corey Patterson
RP – Marc Rzepczynski
SS – Rafael Furcal

Cardinals lost:
CF – Colby Rasmus
RP – Trever Miller
RP – Brian Tallet
P – P.J. Walters
RF – Alex Castellanos

In the short run, the Cardinals brought in some big name talent in order to make a serious playoff push. At the moment we are 3.5 behind the Brewers in the Central and 5.5 out in the Wild Card. We are of course playing in Milwaukee right now and having decidedly obvious struggles after what seems like a promising weekend against the lowly Cubs. The team looked to be gelling behind excellent outings from the pieces received in the trade. Octavio Dotel is still yet to allow a hit in the four games and four innings pitched. Edwin Jackson pitched seven solid innings in his win against the Cubs and Mark Rzepczynski pitched two innings against the Astros and threw out four strikeouts in what was a very promising outing from someone we are still not incredibly familiar with.

Our biggest challenge thus far has been the Milwaukee Brewers. Earlier on I said they were the going to probably be the downfall of us, and this series is going to be the make or break period for our team. If we expect to let these new moves make the biggest difference, we have to at least beat the team in the lead.

The Brewers also made some prominent moves in the push for the Central:

Brewers got:
P – Francisco Rodriguez
SS – Jerry Hairston

Brewers lost:
C – Wil Nieves
RF – Erik Komatsu

Next in line is the incredibly surprising Pittsburgh Pirates who are sitting just a game above .500. This is the latest in the season they have made such a mark in recent memory. In an effort to stay legitimate and work towards a playoff slot, the Pirates made a slew of surprising moves as well. The last day of the deadline they reached for some rather surprising moves that could help them down the line.

Pirates got:
1B – Derrek Lee
LF – Ryan Ludwick

Pirates lost:
1B – Aaron Baker

The defending champion Reds were relatively quiet and their plans to repeat in the Central is looking rather dismal. They shed the contract of Jonny Gomes for some prospects to develop for the future.

Reds got:
P – Christopher Manno
OF – Bill Rhinehart

Reds lost:
LF – Jonny Gomes

As far as the playoff push these last two teams are not even worth mentioning. They did however make some sensible moves for future prospects and can only start looking ahead to next season and beyond. They shed some payroll by sending players to playoff contenders and got more promising prospects in return. The Cubs made a smaller impact while the Astros had a fire sale of sorts.

Chicago Cubs got:
RF – Abner Abreu
P – Carlton Smith

Chicago Cubs lost:
RF – Kosuke Fukudome

Houston Astros got:
P – Jason Stoffel
P – Henry Sosa
1B – Jonathan Singleton
P – Jarred Cosart
P – Josh Zeid
CF – Jordan Schafer
P – Juan Abreu
P – Paul Clemens
P – Brett Oberholtzer

Houston Astros lost:
2B – Jeff Keppinger
RF – Hunter Pence
CF – Michael Bourn

This is looking more and more like a two team division between the Cards and Brewers with an outside chance at the Wild Card, if they can keep up with the likes of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves.

In the back of my mind, the Cardinals still have the team to beat….on paper. It all depends which team is going to show up for the rest of the year as to whether we will spend October playing ball or playing golf.