A recent Ken Rosenthal piece in The Athletic suggests the St. Louis Cardinals may be interested in shopping Jose Martinez before the Trade Deadline. Would this be a good move for the struggling Cardinals?
St. Louis Cardinals may be interested in shopping their defensively-challenged Jose Martinez before the Trade Deadline, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal links this possible move to the Cardinals interest in Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and the ‘crowded infield’ situation it would incur.
Rosenthal suggests one possible move for the Cardinals would be to trade Martinez to the Minnesota Twins for immediate help in another area. After being swept by the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals could be starting to look at some ‘outside the box’ moves to save their 2018 season.
Let’s look at what the pros and cons are of trading the Cardinals’ most productive hitter before the Trade Deadline.
The case for trading Jose Martinez
As stated in the Rosenthal piece, if the St. Louis Cardinals trade for Mike Moustakas, a crowded infield will create playing time challenges for players such as Jed Gyorko, Matt Carpenter, and Kolten Wong. Consequently, with shortstop Paul DeJong expected to come off the DL in July, this problem will only become more severe. It seems some one would have to go.
Martinez’s defensive shortcomings at first base has been problematic. His 6-foot-7-inches of height have made his scooping low throws a challenge and then he also has problems ranging to his right. These issues has lead to a -1.1 defensive WAR and seven errors, among the worst in MLB.
Redbird Rants Co-Editor Dr. Michael Miles suggests promoting the hot hitting Luke Voit from AAA Memphis to replace Martinez at first base, and then trade Martinez. You can read Dr. Miles piece here:
Also, Redbird Rant Contributor Larry Levin has written a piece that in part goes into Martinez’s terrible defensive metrics and makes a case for replacing him. You can read his piece here:
As previously stated, Ken Rosenthal has suggested the Cardinals and the Twins have explored a trade that would send Martinez to the AL. This would make sense for the Twins as they would get a controllable player for the next four years. Martinez would fit nicely as a DH in the AL and the 29 year old could be part of the Twins long-term plans. In the trade, the Cardinals could add help in the bullpen, rotation, or a draft pick.
Jose Maritnez’s trade value may never be higher than it is right now.
The case for keeping Jose Martinez
Even if the St Louis Cardinals pick up Mike Moustakas, the ‘Moose’ can’t replace Martinez’s offensive production in the lineup. Moustakas’ 2018 slash line of .258/.313/.471 doesn’t measure up to Martinez’s .299/.367/.496. After a Martinez trade, the offensively-challenged Cardinals would not be any better, and likely worse.
Martinez is still producing an offensive WAR of 1.6 that offsets his defensive WAR of 1.1. The Cardinals feel when Paul DeJong returns to shortstop from the DL, throws to first will be better and thus take some pressure off Martinez.
The Cardinals are considering using Martinez more in the outfield, with the offensive struggles of Dexter Fowler. The platoon of Fowler and Harrison Bader has never really taken hold offensively, and the Cards feel that Martinez would be less exposed in right field.
Finally, the Cardinals don’t plan to remove Martinez from the everyday lineup because they don’t think it will make them a better team.
“Look, Jose Martinez has earned a spot in the everyday lineup, so we have to figure out a spot to play him”, General Manager MIchael Girsch recently told Jenifer Langosch. “We could probably have a better defense if Jose wasn’t hitting as well, but that wouldn’t necessarily make us a better team.”
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The St. Louis Cardinals start their seven game west coast road trip with a 42-40 record. The challenge for the Cardinals has been run production in the month of June. Coming off a 4 game losing streak in which included a sweep by the Atlanta Braves, they scored 11 runs.
Offensive help is needed for the Cardinals. So removing your best offensive player from the lineup without a plan to bring in someone better, is unlikely to help. Adding offensive talent is needed, not subtracting.
Yes, it obvious, Jose Martinez is a defensive liability at first base, and would be in the outfield too. However, in my opinon, the answer for 2018 is to find offensive help for Martinez. Bring in a Mike Moustakas or a Nolan Arendo to add help, but don’t trade Martinez.
The Trade Deadline is coming and if the Cardinals are going to salvage this season, they need to make a move. Keep Jose Martinez and get offensive help. Matt Carpenter and Marcel Ozuna have returned to form, and I believe Tommy Pham will too.
The St. Louis Cardinals need to make a move soon. That’s my opinion, what’s yours? Thanks for reading.