St. Louis Cardinals: Questions about the pursuit of a big bat

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 16: General Manager John Mozeliak (L) and owner William DeWitt, Jr. of the St. Louis Cardinals speak at a press conference at Roger Dean Stadium on February 16, 2011 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 16: General Manager John Mozeliak (L) and owner William DeWitt, Jr. of the St. Louis Cardinals speak at a press conference at Roger Dean Stadium on February 16, 2011 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Cardinals’ search for a big bat may take up to the end of the deadline. Is that a good thing or bad?

It’s no secret the St. Louis Cardinals are searching for a big bat. With names like Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson flying through everyone’s mind, many fans are wondering when a move for 3-4-5 bat will happen. Unfortunately, we might have to wait till the end of the deadline to find out.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s, Derrick Goold, held his weekly chat with fans and shed some light on what might be the St. Louis Cardinals’ plan on the big bat. The question was, “Do you think the Cards will bring in a 3-4-5 bat before the trade deadline?”

Goold’s response was simple and clear, but left me with a couple of questions.

"They will try. There are few options, but they are pursuing them, or will be in near-term. At last check, this is the kind of move they expect to go into the final week of the deadline, when there is a clock ticking and pressure to move."

Here are the questions that came to my mind after reading Goold’s comments:

More from Redbird Rants

  1. Is the search for a big bat smoke or fire?
  2. Since there are “few options,” could the Cardinals stay pat?
  3. Should the St. Louis Cardinals wait till the end of the deadline to make a move?

Is the search for a bat smoke or fire?

Based on Goold’s comments, and what we have heard from the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals, I think it’s safe to say they are definitely looking for a big bat.

Cardinals have been looking for a 3-4-5 bat for quite some time, but nothing has materialized. What’s frustrating is hearing a team having interest in a big name player, only to see it flame out.

However, I think the search is real, and the Cardinals will find their guy.

This also begs the question on which rumors should we really be keying on. Unfortunately, they are just rumors. It’s tough to say which ones. However, Goold also mentioned in his chat he has heard nothing suggesting Stanton is legitimate target for the Cardinals. However, the Marlins are open to shopping Stanton around. It’s situations like this where rumors become more smoke than fire.

Whether you believe the Cardinals are going after Stanton, Donaldson, or another power bat, the simple fact is the team needs a strong middle of the order presence. Matt Carpenter’s inability to adjust to the three-hole left the team searching for answers. I mentioned not too long ago about Dexter Fowler hitting third in the order, given his recent power surge, but that is not his hitting profile.

Related Story: Dexter Fowler's power surge

The fact Mike Matheny sees Fowler as a three-hole hitter should be enough evidence to suggest the search for a big bat is real.

Since there are “few options,” could the Cardinals stay pat?

I found this to be an interesting comment by Goold. The more I think of the names the St. Louis Cardinals should add to the lineup, the smaller I realize it is. Let’s be realistic here. The only names we really have heard of, power-bat wise, are Stanton, Donaldson, and J.D. Martinez. Yeah, that’s it. I do mention the name Justin Upton in our Redbird Rants Summit piece, but that would be a stretch.

Seriously, though, anyone else? I can probably think of a few other names, but none that would strike fear into many pitching staffs. However, those types of players might be the only ones available to the Cardinals.

At one point, reports stated the Cardinals had interest in Avisail Garcia. The only problem is Garcia does not profile like the other names mentioned above. If anything, Garcia would be a complimentary piece, one the Cardinals would make if they took the division lead before the break. However, it still doesn’t change what might happen.

Related Story: Cards looking at Avisail Garcia

What happens if the Cardinals cannot pull any moves off?

The obvious answers are sell or stay pat. While the Cardinals have some pieces to sell, I wouldn’t sell unless for the right price. However, staying pat only means on thing: You’re close enough to the division. This means you are willing to take a chance with the club you have now. That also means, the Cardinals wouldn’t sell any of their current players on the roster. If you were to sell, then I would guess Lance Lynn is the likely candidate to go.

There are nineteen days till the trade deadline. If the Cardinals climb into the lead, or sit a game or two back, there is a realistic chance they won’t do anything at the deadline. I would sure hate to be Cards GM, Mike Girsch, at that point. The pressure surrounding you to make a move would be intense. That is a tough, career-beginning call for Girsch. I just hope it’s the right one.

Should the St. Louis Cardinals wait till the end of the deadline to make a move?

I am definitely struggling with this question. If you remember, John Mozeliak wanted to evaluate the team for 4-6 weeks, at the beginning of June. I was pretty vocal on how that was not the correct decision. However, we are now at the end of the six-week estimation, awaiting a plan. I don’t know about you, but it feels like the plan might be to sit and wait for the trade market to develop first.

Related Story: Addressing Mozeliak's comments

What does that mean in the upcoming weeks?

Well if you’re like me, then you’re probably not too happy about waiting till the end of the deadline. My fear is the longer we wait to make a move, the steeper the price we pay. If I were teams with the trade asset, I’d wait as long as I could to make a deal. I would welcome teams to overpay me for a player’s service, especially if they are a rental.

My fear is the St. Louis Cardinals could fall in that very trap. Obviously, the inverse to not waiting till the end of the deadline is you may over pay initially to get the player you want, before seeing what other teams pay for similar services.

Otherwise, the Cardinals will have no other choice, but to look at rental players. Whether rental players cost more is up for debate. However, I am willing to take that risk, considering the current state of the Cardinals’ farm system.

For the sake of argument though, let’s agree the Cardinals should wait till the end of the deadline.

One benefit from waiting would be a team desperate enough to move a particular player that they sell low on him. That might be the case of Josh Donaldson. Another benefit of waiting is what I mentioned above.The market plays itself out in front of you. This gives you time to calculate what offers to entertain and those to spit on.  It’s risky, but could be more of a long-term benefit than anything.

I guess I didn’t really answer my question, but how can you in the state the division race is in?

Next: Redbird Rants All-Star summit

I’d like to take the time to promote a great article the team at Redbird Rants did over the All-Star break. Together, we collaborated on a slide show piece discussing the trade deadline and other questions facing the St. Louis Cardinals this month. It really is a great piece, and we hope you enjoy the first of many Redbird Rants Summits. Please check out the next post link above. Thanks for reading!