The St. Louis Cardinals approach the trade deadline under different circumstances than they have faced in recent years. It is typical for the team to buy at the deadline but this year standing pat may be best.
The St. Louis Cardinals are sitting four games out of first place in the NL-Central at the time of my writing this post. Four games usually does not denote the end of a season for a ball club at this point in the season. That, however, is not the case for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017.
I don’t mean to paint a terrible picture here but we need to face the facts that the 2017 Cardinal squad just isn’t ready for postseason play. Does this mean that the Cubs and Brewers are better than this club? Right now, yes.
Let me be clear that I do not feel this club is horrible. I do, however, feel that changes are needed but I don’t see those changes coming via a deadline trade.
During last night’s podcast (if you missed it, I’ve embedded it below), Tito and Josh went name-by-name through the roster and said to either keep or sell. These were some of their takes:
- Randal Grichuk – sell (yes, even Josh said to sell)
- Dexter Fowler – keep
- Tommy Pham – keep
- Stephen Piscotty – keep
- Matt Carpenter – keep
- Greg Garcia – DFA (yes, even I agree despite my admiration for his scrappy play)
For more of their list, take a listen to our official podcast episode sixteen here below.
After bouncing these names, I found myself coming to a different conclusion that I had held before the podcast. Prior to the podcast start, I personally wanted the club to sell and buy. After going through the exercise with the intelligent guys, I find myself urging the club to stand pat.
I think the St. Louis Cardinals will be better served doing little at the deadline than giving up players who should rebound when healthy and/or without giving up additional prospects.
To support this theory, the recent Marco Gonzales trade shows that the front office is more likely looking to the future than thinking of winning in 2017. The addition of Tyler O’Neill shows that Mozeliak/Girsch are likely more interested in building players to break the MLB barrier before the season’s end or in 2018.
I think this makes so much better sense than trading away prospects for an impact player rental for the ability to enter and then likely quickly leave the postseason.
Thinking this way, then, I would still advocate that the St. Louis Cardinals sell Lance Lynn after today’s start but sell him for prospects and/or MLB-ready or MLB-current bullpen arms. Along the same lines, I would advocate that the Cardinals hold Harrison Bader until the offseason and move him then for an impact player.
These two moves make the most sense to me with the current atmosphere in which the Cardinals reside. Furthermore, firing Mike Matheny at the season’s end also makes a good deal of sense. Oh, and John Mabry can go with him.
Why wait for the Matheny fire? To me, unless the organization already knows Matheny’s replacement- something quite possible with Mike Shildt already with the big club- then waiting until the offseason is more likely since other managers can more easily be poached at that time than now.
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Having said that, I would LOVE to see Matheny and Mabry get the boot right now but I’m afraid that is less and less likely with this front office.
Moreover, waiting until the off-season after Matheny drives this dead horse into the ground even deeper will allow the Cardinals’ front office further justification for the firing– something that will help them sleep better.
Standing pat makes the most sense with the names entering free agency in the off-season combined with the names of those players who could more easily be had in the off-season since they would have only one year remaining on contract. These include Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado. These are two names I’d rather the Cardinals take than any wasted time on Giancarlo Stanton.
So there it is: stand pat, Cardinals. 2017 isn’t your year but 2018 very likely could be. Oh, and how about you promote more of the young guys and give them the experience this year. Trust me, fans WILL come out to watch them just as much as tired, lacking-expectations of current veterans.