St. Louis Cardinals: The Cards fold’em on Donaldson and the Waiver Trade Deadline

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - JUNE 30: Singer Kenny Rogers performs onstage during his final world tour "The Gambler's Last Deal" at the Civic Arts Plaza on June 30, 2016 in Thousand Oaks, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
THOUSAND OAKS, CA - JUNE 30: Singer Kenny Rogers performs onstage during his final world tour "The Gambler's Last Deal" at the Civic Arts Plaza on June 30, 2016 in Thousand Oaks, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

Like the Kenny Rogers song, “The Gambler,” the St. Louis Cardinals decided to ‘fold’em’ on Josh Donaldson, the Waiver Trade Deadline, and then ‘walked away.’

President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak must be a Kenny Rogers fan, because it seems he followed the Gamblers advice during the Waiver Trade Deadline, and for that matter during the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July too for our St. Louis Cardinals.

Rumors increased about the St. Louis Cardinals on social media and the national sports media just before the waiver Trade deadline on Friday.  These rumors focused on Toronto Blue Jay third baseman Josh Donaldson coming to St. Louis. However, these rumors turned out to be…well… just rumors, and Donaldson ended up in Cleveland.

Most of the  rumors during the non-waiver July Trade Deadline focused on Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, and Manny Machado.  Of course, in the end, like the waiver Trade Deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals folded, and then walked away. Moustakas went to the Brewers, Machado ended up a Dodger, and Donaldson stayed on the DL with the Blue Jays.

Josh Donaldson and the waiver Trade Deadline

With the recent August surge by the Cardinals, there didn’t seem to be a need for the Cards to make a waiver move prior to the deadline of August 31.

The St. Louis Cardinals headed into Friday’s deadline with a 28-13 record since manager Mike Shildt took over from Mike Matheny on July 15th. The Redbirds also had taken over the first Wild Card spot in the National League and had closed the gap with the Cubs for the National League Central title to 4 1/2 games.

However, last week, infielder Jedd Gyorko went on the 10 day DL with a groin strain.  Couple that with Kolten Wong and Marcell Ozuna recently being added to the DL, and the Cardinals found themselves without some key offensive contributors going into September.

That’s when the rumors connecting the St. Louis Cardinals and Josh Donaldson to the Waiver Trade deadline started taking hold.  The Sporting News, ESPN, and MLB Network were just some of the news sites that reported the Cardinals were in “serious discussions” with the Blue Jays for Donaldson’s services.

However, late Friday afternoon, John Mozeliak seemed to put to rest those rumors, and later, Donaldson was reported traded to the Cleveland Indians.

Was ‘folding’ on Donaldson the right move?

Since the firing of Mike Matheny, every personnel move made by the St. Louis Cardinals has thus far worked out.  The combination of trades, releases, and promotions by the front office have contributed significantly the recent surge by the Redbirds.  That makes it hard to criticize the decision to  pass on the Blue Jay third baseman.

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Donaldson has only played in 36 games in 2018 while battling shoulder and calf issues.  He has not played since late May and was only batting .234 with five home runs and 16 RBI.  In 2017, Donaldson only played in 113 games, however he had a .270 BA with 33 HR and 78 RBI.  Nevertheless, the last two years have been injury filled and caused a significant reduction in his offensive output.

The St. Louis Cardinals have not made a significant trade deadline move (waiver or non waiver) since bringing on John Lackey in 2014.  So passing on Donaldson shouldn’t be surprising to Cardinal fans.  Trading for Donaldson at the waiver trade deadline would have been outside this organization’s conservative approach.

Nonetheless, I believe the decision was solid.  The St. Louis Cardinals have been making the right calls since July 15th. Depending on the Blue Jays asking price, Donaldson would have likely been a low reward move with his injury history the last two seasons.

On Monday, the Indians put Donaldson on the 10-day DL for a calf strain. This was primarily done to allow Donaldson a rehab stint with AAA Columbus before activating him.  However, I believe the Cardinals made the right decision by folding and walking away.

So as the ‘Gambler’ says…

‘You got to know when to hold’em’

‘Know when fold’em’,

‘Know when to walk away’,

‘And know when to run’…

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That’s what the Cardinals did last week.  What’s your opinion on the Cardinals walking away from Josh Donaldson.  Should have they made the deal and brought in Donaldson?   Let us know.  Thanks for reading and…Go Cards.