Oakland traded left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea to the San Diego Padres for two minor league prospects. The St. Louis Cardinals could have matched that.
The St. Louis Cardinals enter the 2022 season with questions about the starting rotation. Now with Jack Flaherty on the disabled list for the foreseeable future, a starting pitching spot was open. Even though he’s on a one-year contract, the Cardinals should have made traded for Sean Manaea.
Here are some questions on the starting rotation:
- Can Adam Wainwright duplicate his 2021 success at age 40?
- How will Dakota Hudson handle his first full season after Tommy John surgery?
- Will Drew VerHagen or Jake Woodford take over the fifth starter spot?
- Is Oliver Marmol really going to use a reliever as an “opener”?
The Cardinals this offseason made a wise move by signing Steven Matz this offseason, but successful MLB teams can never have enough pitching. This is where Manaea comes in. Manaea is coming off a solid 2021 season where he accumulated 3.4 bWAR and had career highs in strikeouts (194), SO/9 (9.7), and innings pitched (179.1).
In addition, Manaea’s FIP (3.66) was lower than his actual ERA (3.91). That’s really good. Now imagine him with the Cardinals’ infield defense!
Given what the A’s received, the Cardinals could have matched that or perhaps given Oakland a better trade package. Both the Padres and the Cardinals have similarly-ranked farm systems, and Oakland only received San Diego’s 12th and 26th ranked prospects for Manaea and Holiday.
If that’s what it took, then maybe the Cardinals could send some prospects ranked in the 10-19 range. Let’s say…Either infielders Malcolm Nunez (no. 13) or Luken Baker (no. 17) along with pitcher Tink Hence (no.11).
In the end, it probably isn’t surprising that Sean Manaea did not end up in St. Louis. Even though the Cardinals were interested in Manaea, a trade was reported to be unlikely, especially if Manaea was here for only one year.
Even still, Sean Manaea would have addressed an area of improvement for the Cardinals, especially if they want to return to the World Series. St. Louis may be high on Jake Woodford (and Woodford does have potential), Manaea is a proven commodity.
After seeing what it cost to get Manaea, it was a price the Cardinals could have paid. Let’s hope this doesn’t come back to bite us.