Cardinals Rumors: St. Louis to buy or hold at trade deadline

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Nolan Arenado (28) attempts a throw to first base in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Nolan Arenado (28) attempts a throw to first base in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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The St. Louis Cardinals won’t be sellers at the trade deadline, but they will either be buyers or holders come July 30.

The St. Louis Cardinals enter Sunday with the second worst record in baseball since June 1. And with the July 30 trade deadline rapidly approaching, it’s a stretch that has likely drastically altered their plans.

Indeed, Jon Morosi of MLB.com says that it’s “difficult to envision” the Cardinals being aggressive buyers at the deadline. Katie Woo of The Athletic took it a step further, saying that it’s likely the Cardinals are holders as optimism grows that Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas will return this season.

Unless the Cardinals completely bottom out in the coming weeks, they won’t be sellers. But even as holders, they are likely to acquire at least one starting pitcher before the deadline, though the odds of a big trade happening – say, Minnesota Twins’ Jose Berrios or Cleveland’s Shane Bieber – appear incredibly unlikely.

Instead, with Flaherty and Mikolas set to return, the Cardinals are likely to add a mid-level rotation arm. That market will be more ripe with options and could result in a value addition as president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has continually said that he will not trade his top prospects.

It’s a position that the Cardinals did not expect to find themselves in after acquiring Nolan Arenado, but it’s their reality. They’re going to build their team to win now only now, but in the future, so any trade will have the long-term picture in mind. It all but rules out that they will add a player on an expiring contract, which could be complicated since 1) there are less of those types of players available and 2) acquiring a player with control typically costs more to acquire.

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It’s something Mozeliak and the front office will have to navigate, which could make them a fascinating team to watch come July 30, even with the news that they won’t be aggressive buyers.

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