1. At this point in the season, should the Cardinals buy or sell?
Josh McDonald: The St. Louis Cardinals are not in the business of losing, so it’s hard to say they should do a hard sell. They don’t exactly have the pieces to do a huge sell-off or anything close to it. The Cardinals should focus on the future, but as buyers. Don’t commit to any rental type players. Focus on adding players who have multiple years.
Dr. Michael Miles: The St. Louis Cardinals should buy and sell. With a weakened NL-Central, the Cardinals should take advantage of a market wherein they can offload some suffering MLB players (or those with high value at this time) for strength to overtake the NLC. Additionally, now is the time to strengthen for the future at the MLB-level. The Cards have a good farm system, but cannot allow the Brewers or Cubs to get stronger while they do nothing but ride the farm.
Tito Rivera: I’ll flat out say it. The St. Louis Cardinals should buy. I know among fans it is not a popular opinion, but I think there are factors everyone should consider going into the All-Star break. The first is the play of the top teams in the division. The Milwaukee Brewers are playing with house money and have nothing to lose.
However, I think their time will catch up to them. They are over-performing any expectations this season. Their confidence level is only boosted by the fact the Chicago Cubs and Cardinals have not played to their potential.
The second factor is schedules the rest of the way. I think the Cardinals have the easier second-half schedule than the Brewers and Cubs. The opportunity to gain ground will be there, and the Cardinals need to pounce on the opportunity.
Nathan Grimes: Both and neither. The St. Louis Cardinals haven’t done enough to prove they’re just one piece away from serious title contention, yet they remain in the mix in the National League Central. While a bat or an arm would improve the Cardinals’ chances to compete in the division, would it improve their chances at making a deep run in October? Probably not.
Aside from the numbers the offense and pitching staff has put up, bad base running and questionable managing has plagued the team throughout the season. An impact trade doesn’t suddenly chance those deficiencies.
The Cardinals should explore the market on free-agents-to-be Lance Lynn and Seung-hwan Oh and capitalize on their value, if possible. At the same time, if they can add an impact bat without overhauling the strong farm system, it would be a practical move not only for the stretch run in 2017, but for years to come.
Brendan Vogt: Buyers. The St. Louis Cardinals have some momentum headed into the break, and they sit tied with Chicago for 2nd place in the division—just 5.5 games back of Milwaukee. The Brewers are for real, but that lead shouldn’t feel insurmountable. The Cardinals have multiple major league players that could be moved and a hand full of valuable prospects. Make a move.
Shane Sturtz: Well, my gut says the St. Louis Cardinals should buy, but my head says the Cardinals should sell. All season long the Cardinals have played sloppy, uninspired ball, and they have shown little promise they are going to make a push towards the NL-Central crown. BUT it’s still hard for me to say yes to unloading the farm system for a large contract like Giancarlo Stanton or another player hard to retain.
So I think the Cardinals should buy, but if I’m Mozeliak, I’m only making a trade that acquires a guy they can retain for the future. A trade that weakens the farm system doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me because with cleaner baseball and strong starting pitching they can make a push for the playoffs.
Dan Campbell: Yes. The St. Louis Cardinals should do a soft sell, but buy a big bat, if possible. The idea would be to unload short-term assets such as Oh and Lynn, if you can get a few top-100 prospects in return.
Those prospects can either bolster the system, or be flipped in a trade for a middle-of-the-order bat or a top starter (think big here – Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Marcus Stroman, Jacob DeGrom, Jose Quintana).
Selling these two players would give Luke Weaver, Tyler Lyons, or Marco Gonzalez a real look in the rotation, and move Rosenthal into a settled role of closer with Cecil taking over the 8th like he was signed to do.
Christian May-Suzuki: Sellers. There are a few things this St. Louis Cardinal team would need to buy to become true contenders. Trying to go all-in to win a title would mortgage our solid farm system. Hitting, from both a contact and power stand point, is below par and the relief pitching is shaky at best.
Unless Mozeliak is able to make some magic happen and pick up good talent, without giving away multiple top prospects, there is no need to try and actively buy big players if they don’t fit in the future plan.
Trevor Hooth: The St. Louis Cardinals should buy. There are enough players on the trade block who will give more than one good year to the team, as well as enough prospects for the team not to be hurt in the future. They are very well in the division race, and it is not a division that is setting the world on fire this year. That needs to be taken advantage of, and the right move could give the team the necessary spark.
Larry Levin– They should buy. Or sell. Or stand pat. Is that crazy? What I really mean is their decisions should be based not on how they’re going to finish this year, but on how to build the best team to compete for the next several years.
I say that because even if we somehow stumbled into the playoffs, the team is fraught with so many issues in so many areas — bullpen, lineup, defense, baserunning and recently, even a less consistent rotation — that even one major deal wouldn’t be likely to get us the Big Prize.