St. Louis Cardinals: John Mozeliak is Smarter Than You


The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone and St. Louis Cardinals fans are divided on being satisfied and disgruntled.  The real truth, however, is that Mozeliak is smarter than all of us.

Did the St. Louis Cardinals do enough at the deadline to send Charlie Tilson to the White Sox for Zach Duke?  Or were we all left holding something disappointing?  A recent Redbird Rants article by Drew Clark had Facebookers up in arms, but, by looking at those who did move, it is easy to argue that Mozeliak outsmarted us all.

So, let’s do just that: let’s look at the players who moved before yesterday’s deadline to see if they might have fit for the St. Louis Cardinals.  In doing so, we should also examine what was dealt for these names to see if the Cardinals had similar value to send.

For ease of argument, I will focus only on those trades that occurred after the Duke acquisition.  There are plenty of names to examine post the Duke trade and we should assume that those names that occurred before the Duke-get were deemed as not-good for the St. Louis Cardinals by the ever-wise, John Mozeliak.

Andrew Miller

To-be closer, Andrew Miller, was traded from the New York Yankees for four prospects from the Cleveland Indians.  In 45.1 innings this season for NY, Miller owned a 1.39 ERA surrendering 28 hits.  While the St. Louis Cardinals could have used this arm, the addition of Duke (2.63 ERA in 37.2 innings)- while not the same- negates a need for Miller.

As to the cost, Miller would have cost the St. Louis Cardinals four prospects: an outfielder and three pitchers.  While the Cardinals traded their prospect outfielder (Tilson), I’m not sold that the birds have three pitching prospects who would get a Miller.  Add to this the fact that Miller costs $9MM through 2018 whereas Duke costs $5MM in 2016 and $5.5MM in 2017.

Tyler Clippard

Another relief arm, Tyler Clippard was acquired by the Yankees for a right-handed bullpen prospect.  While the St. Louis Cardinals were in the market for pen help, Clippard’s 37.2 innings of 4.30 ERA and 34 hits weren’t enticing enough for Mozeliak to jump.  Add to this the fact that Memphis’ pen- full of pitchers similar to Clippard- simply wouldn’t justify a jump like this, in my opinion.

Wade Miley

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The 29 year-old starting pitcher out of the Mariners organization was sent to the Orioles for a left-handed prospect.  In years past, Wade Miley has had nice seasons- his best ERA in his career was his All-Star year of 2012 at 3.33- but this season is struggling with an ERA of 4.98 in 112 innings.  The St. Louis Cardinals were simply not interested- in my opinion- in an arm too similar to our own Mike Leake (4.50 ERA in 128 innings).

Jay Bruce

It is certainly a good thing when a power bat like, Jay Bruce, exits the National League Central, but could he possibly have landed with the St. Louis Cardinals?  Despite the fact that this would be an in-division trade, the uncertainty of this to-be free agent (when the Cardinals already have a potential would-be FA in Matt Holliday) kept the birds away (IMO).

His slash line of .265/.316/.559 wasn’t too enticing either when compared to our own Stephen Piscotty who owns a .285/.356/.475.  The similarities are far too close for comfort and Piscotty is under team control until 2019.

Fernando Abad

Another “rental” pen arm, this left-handed arm is almost one-to-one exactly like Zach Duke in regard to performance.  Fernando Abad owns a 2.65 ERA across 34 innings having surrendered 27 hits.  For the comparison to Duke, see the stats above in the Miller section.  Moving on…

Rich Hill and Josh Reddick

I grouped these two since they went in a single trade.  Rich Hill, a starting pitcher who is suffering this season with injury (a.k.a. Lance Lynn), simply wasn’t a risk that ‘Mo was willing to take with the injury-prone St. Louis Cardinals this season.

Josh Reddick, an impressive right fielder who is another to-be free agent, has a 2016 slash line of .296/.368/.449.  Would you take him over Piscotty?  Again, IMO, simply too similar to waste the three right-handed prospects (of which I’m not convinced our farm system has).

Will Smith

While “Men in Black” was a good movie, Will Smith, a left-handed reliever from the Brewers (not the actor) would have been a decent collection, IMO, as I wrote about not long ago (read that here).  Having said that, his 2.00 ERA in 18 innings this season for the Brewers simply doesn’t compare after the St. Louis Cardinals had collected Duke (who can pitch deeper than Smith).

Carlos Beltran

While every St. Louis Cardinals fan loved his time with the Cardinals, Carlos Beltran, thanks to his aging body, simply doesn’t have a place in the National League.  While this season is somewhat prolific for Beltran, batting .304/.344/.546, his destiny now is to serve as DH and the Cardinals don’t have this to offer.

Scott Feldman

This to-be free agent right-handed starter, Scott Feldman has held a respectable 2.90 ERA in 62 innings for Houston.  While the St. Louis Cardinals would enjoy a pitcher like this… WAIT!  The Cardinals do have a pitcher like this- Carlos Martinez (2.99 ERA in 126.1 innings)- who is under team control until 2020.  See why Mozeliak would not have had interest at this time?

Josh Fields

There simply isn’t much to talk about here.  Josh Fields, a right-handed pen arm isn’t having a very good season: 6.89 ERA in 15.2 innings.  Pass.

Hector Santiago and Alan Busenitz

Hector Santiago, a right-handed starter (4.25 ERA in 120.2 innings), and Alan Busenitz, a prospect pen arm who is climbing the ranks (7.62 ERA in 13 AAA innings) simply didn’t break the radar for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Why?  Santiago is a rental who isn’t any better than the righties in the rotation now and Busenitz is a current snore-fest.

Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress

An amazing catcher for sure, Jonathan Lucroy would not likely come to the St. Louis Cardinals to back up Yadier Molina.  Despite his respectable .299/.359/.482, and despite the fact that Lucroy would not have been able to block a trade to the Cardinals, the to-be free agent simply doesn’t fit the Cardinals system with Yadi being signed through 2018.

Jeremy Jeffress, a right-handed pen pitcher, has a nice 2.22 ERA in 44.2 innings.  This noted, it appears that Mozeliak was seeking left-handed relief since he has ample right-handed arms in the system.  In light of this, it is easy to see why Mo would pass on this arm.

Joe Smith

Let me say this: I hate that the Chicago Cubs landed this rental.  Joe Smith, a right-handed relief pitcher currently owns a 3.82 ERA in 37.2 innings.  Like Jeffress above, I simply do not feel that Mozeliak needed a right-handed reliever at this time.

Ivan Nova

The Yankees sent right-handed rental starter, Ivan Nova, to the Pirates.  Nova currently owns a 4.90 ERA in 97.1 innings.  Why waste money on a rental who is too similar to Leake?  Perhaps this kept Mozeliak away from this name.

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Jonathon Niese

Another starter who is set for free agency at the season’s end, Jonathon Niese was sent from the Pirates to the Mets (or rather sent back to the Mets from whence he came).  Niese commands a 4.91 ERA in 110 innings.  Why jump at this name when the Cardinals have their own to-be free agent lefty in Jamie Garcia (4.30 ERA in 121.1 innings)?

Steve Pearce

This outfielder/first baseman/second baseman, Steve Pearce is yet another to-be free agent moved during this season’s deadline deals.  Pearce has a slash line this season of .309/.388/.520.  While decent, the deal was closed by sending a prospect catcher which the St. Louis Cardinals simply do not have at this time to give.

Brandon Guyer

Yet another rental dealt, Brandon Guyer is listed on Baseball-reference as an outfielder and pinch hitter.  His 2016 slash line is .241/.347/.406.  Boring.  Pass.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a left-handed starter from Tampa Bay who is another rental dealt during this period.  Very, very similar to Garcia, Moore has appeared in 130 innings for a 4.08 ERA.  While the rumors are flowing that the St. Louis Cardinals are not looking to pick up Garcia’s option at the end of the season, it is easy to see therefore why Mozeliak would pass on this arm.

 Mike Bolsinger

This won’t take long: Mike Bolsinger is a right-handed pen arm who is currently pitching a 6.83 ERA in 27.2 innings.  Pass.

Francisco Liriano/Drew Hutchison

Yes, please.  Francisco Liriano is a powerhouse left-handed starter who is under control through 2017.  While not having the greatest 2016 (5.46 ERA), his career ERA is 4.09 and has hovered around the low 3s in recent seasons.  Liriano was sent to Toronto along with an outfield prospect and a catcher/DH prospect for Drew Hutchison.

Hutchison has appeared in 12.2 innings this season (4.97 ERA) in the majors after having appeared in 150.1 innings in 2015 (5.57 ERA).  Hutchison is a right-handed starter under team control until 2019.  This season, he has spent the majority of his time in AAA pitching in 102 innings for a 3.26 ERA.  As I’ve said above, I just don’t see a pitcher like this enticing enough for the Cardinals at this time.

In looking at these names, I’m not disappointed with Mozliak’s lack of additional moves.  I just don’t see anything here that would interest the club enough to jump.  Do you?

Are there names missing from this list that Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals should have had interested in and should have attempted to sign?  Who would these be?  Who should Mozliak have shopped?  In light of recent injuries and the exhausted minors, Mozeliak did a good job with what he had.

Next: Loss of Aledmys Diaz Hurts

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