News was released on Saturday that the Tampa Bay Rays are considering selling starting pitchers but the St. Louis Cardinals would be wise to stay far away from a deal.
Fans through Cardinals Nation are stuck debating whether the St. Louis Cardinals should become sellers or buyers before the trade deadline. While a reasonable question when facing an NL-central race imaginably insurmountable and a wild card race of similar difficulty, it might be a wiser choice to stand pat.
That said, fans and writers alike have speculated that this year’s St. Louis Cardinals could use better starting pitching. At other times, the belief is that the Redbirds could stand to benefit from greater offense. At other times yet, the belief is that the Redbirds could benefit from better defense.
While all are true, the idea of stronger starting pitching bubbles to the top of the discussion especially in light of the news out of Tampa on Saturday. According to MLBTR, the Rays (33-47 on the season) are dangling the carrots of their starting pitchers into the market.
So, should the St. Louis Cardinals bite? Before looking at what could be gained, let’s first agree with MLBTR that Chris Archer is not to be included in this “offering.” That agreed, let’s take a look at the names remaining.
Drew Smyly, twenty-seven, currently owns a 5.33 ERA across 96.1 innings. This left-handed pitcher is a great strikeout pitcher and could join the likes of Jaime Garcia (3.84 ERA in 96 innings) in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation. Working against this thought, though, is Tyler Lyons (3.79 ERA in 35.2 innings) who could more easily (and less expensively) fill a slot.
Matt Moore, twenty-seven, currently owns a 4.67 ERA across 96.1 innings. This left-handed pitcher faces the same struggles landing with the St. Louis Cardinals as Smyly above. I just don’t see the value in considering this pitcher. In addition, the Texas Rangers are linked to have interest and would more likely land him before the Cardinals.
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The pitcher of greatest interest is Jake Odorizzi. The St. Louis Cardinals have had interest in him in the past. Odorizz, twenty-six, currently owns a 3.91 ERA across 94.1 innings. This right-handed pitcher hails from the St. Louis area and coming to the Cardinals would put him near his family.
Working against a trade for Odorizzi would be his price. With the respectable ERA, Odorizzi will command a hefty tag and one couldn’t blame the Rays for asking a high price. Another thing working against him in regard to the St. Louis Cardinals is his similarity to Michael Wacha. Let’s compare their stats.
Notice the similarities? I could see this deal working or even being of interest if the St. Louis Cardinals were completely willing and ready to give up on Wacha. While I have been frustrated with him at times this season, I’m not at the point of agreeing to give up on him. Yet.
A final piece of warning to keep us away from diving into the Odorizzi pool: I feel that the St. Louis Cardinals would need to give a great deal of prospects to get the Tampa pitcher and likely need to give someone like Wacha in the deal. Special thanks to our staff writer Galen for this note.
So, in short, is Jake Odorizzi worth sending Michael Wacha and a handful of prospects? I just don’t see the St. Louis Cardinals making this move. I do believe, however, that Odorizzi would be a great Cardinal but I’m just not sure that now is the time.
To wrap up things, let me add that in light of the struggles facing the St. Louis Cardinals to reach October this season, I feel it is likely wiser for the organization to simply do nothing this year, save money, save players and look to the future.