St. Louis Cardinals: High expectations, and questionable results

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 31: Chasen Shreve #40 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 31, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 31: Chasen Shreve #40 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 31, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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The Trade Deadline has passed and the St. Louis Cardinals made some moves.  Expectations were high, but the results were questionable.

Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas, Josh Donaldson, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Chris Archer were some of the names St. Louis Cardinals fans heard as possible Trade Deadline targets for the franchise.  Instead, the names turned out to be Seth Eldridge, Chasen Shreve, Giovanny Gallegos, Justin Williams, Genesis Cabrera, Roel Ramirez, Connor Capel, and Jhon Torres.

Who?

That’s right, the names the Cardinals acquired at the Trade Deadline, weren’t head turners.  The eight prospects included five pitchers and three outfielders.  Outfielder Justin Williams and right-handed pitcher Seth Eldridge are likely the two highest prospects, while pitchers Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos are the only ones with major league experience.  Shreve has been added to the Cardinals bullpen, while Gallegos has been sent to AAA Memphis.

But as Cardinals fans are finding out, this Trade Deadline was directed at 2019, not at the last two months of 2018.  Let’s look how the moves helped and at the same  time, left questions to be answered.

Immediate help

As stated, of the eight players picked up before the Trade Deadline, only Shreve has been added to the Cardinals active roster.  The lefty pitched two scoreless inning in the Cardinals’ series with the Colorado Rockies.

However, the moves that immediately helped the Cardinals most were made internally, rather than by trade.  Relievers Greg Holland and Tyler Lyons were both designated for assignment, while Brett Cecil and Luke Gregerson were exiled to the DL.

These moves allowed the Cards to make a series of promotions to the bullpen that included Dakota Hudson.  The promotions of Hudson, Tyler Webb, and Austin Gomber, along with Shreve, seems to have helped stabilize the Cardinals bullpen.

Since Friday, the bullpen has only given up five earned runs in nearly 28 innings of work.  The results have been immediate and so far, effective.

Questionable results

The trades replaced outfielders with more outfielders and pitchers with more pitchers.  The Cardinals minor league organization has been well stocked with outfielders and had a perceived log jam.  By sending Tommy Pham to the Rays and minor leaguer Oscar Mercado to the Indians was meant to relieve that situation.

However, the Pham and Mercado trades netted the Cards three more outfielders.  Justin Williams, Conner Capel, and Jhon Torres join a minor league system that still includes the likes of Lane Thomas, Randy Arozarena, and Adolis Garcia.  With Cardinals trying to find more playing time for Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neil, the trades didn’t seem to relieve the log jam of outfielders in the organization.

None of the five pitchers picked up by the Cardinals are head turning prospects.  Seth Elledge is the highest ranked prospect of the group, being ranked 10th in the Mariner minor league system.  Nevertheless, Elledge is considered to be an intriguing relief prospect and to have more upside than Sam Tuivailala.

Baseball America seems to  give the Cardinals Deadline haul an average grade.  When they ranked the 69 prospects moved, BA ranks Justin Williams the highest at 21.  Cabrera(26), Gallegos(27), Elledge(30), Capel(35), Torres(50), and Ramirez(55) fill out the rest of the Cardinal haul.

Finally, no offensive help came from the Trade Deadline.  Only the promotion of Tyler O’Neil from AAA Memphis seems to be the attempt to  address any offensive needs for the last two months of the season.

Conclusions

The bullpen moves have so far helped.  Good job.

The moves to bring in more outfielders to replace outfielders, is, however, more dubious.  Especially when it included Oscar Mercado, who was a better prospect than any the Cards received.  An overstocked minor league system before the deadline is still, well,…overstocked.  With Marcel Ozuna established at left field, and the Cardinals apparent commitment to play Dexter Fowler everyday, Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neil will have to divide playing time.

Nevertheless, we may understand the moves better by deciphering John Mozeliak’s statement he made after the Trade Deadline.

More from Redbird Rants

According to Jenifer Langosch, Cardinals Vice President of Baseball Operations, John Mozeliak, acknowledged that some might feel underwhelmed by the Cardinals trade deadline activity. Langosch quoted him as saying: “Do I come here telling you we hit a home run over the last 24 hours? No.  It was an incremental strategy that we feel, in the end, will have long-term benefits.”

What does this mean?  I believe John Mozeliak is talking about the 2018 off-season and the moves or trades that will be made.  The Cardinals overstocked outfield will be addressed through a series of trades.  Look for the current outfield glut to be cleaned up by the start of the 2019 season in order to address any offensive or pitching needs.

That will include the Dexter Fowler issue.  I believe Fowler is being ‘showcased’, so to speak, in preparation for a trade during the off-season.  The Cardinals are hoping Fowler can raise his batting average in order to make a trade easier.  It’s unlikely they will be able to unload all his salary in the off-season.  However, they may be able to unload a significant part of it, if he can improve his offensive numbers.

This year’s Trade Deadline was uneventful and disappointing.  Nevertheless, the best way to judge this Trade Deadline is to see what moves are made during the off-season.

Next. Low risk infield option. dark

We’ll wait and see.  Let us know your thoughts on this years Trade Deadline and what it means for the future of the  St. Louis Cardinals.  Thanks for reading.

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