The St. Louis Cardinals just finished up a 13-game stretch against some of the worse teams in baseball but struggled mightily at times.
The St. Louis Cardinals entered a 13-game stretch that could very well determine their season. In facing the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates, four teams with losing records, the Cardinals had to finish that stretch with a winning record.
Instead, the Cardinals finished it 5-8 and have fallen nine games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central.
It puts the team in a precarious position and raises questions about their future. Do they sell at the deadline? I raised the argument that, should the Cardinals finish that 13-game stretch with a losing record, that they should seriously consider selling. But who do they even have to sell?
Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt aren’t going anywhere. I can’t see Yadier Molina or Adam Wainwright, two franchise icons on one-year deals, being traded.
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Perhaps Kwang Hyun Kim is a trade candidate with the starting pitching market being so weak, but with the Cardinals’ starting pitching being in taters, he likely won’t go anywhere. That leaves, what, Tyler O’Neill as the best trade candidate? That’s not happening either.
The most likely scenario is that the Cardinals explore marginal upgrades throughout the roster and avoid making big moves unless 1) it’s too good of a deal to pass up and 2) is a player that helps them in 2021 and behind.
That long-term window is something that president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has continually preached when discussing his team’s outlook and this latest stretch has essentially cemented those plans.
Which means that trading for a rental like Max Scherzer or any other player along those lines is essentially over. There was already a slim chance of it happening, but with the Cardinals 42-44 and continuing to fade, their arrow continues to point down. And this latest stretch was everything Mozeliak and the front office needed to see to show why this team should build for the future, not go all-in on 2021.