6 starting pitchers the St. Louis Cardinals should consider via trade
By Greg Simons
The San Diego Padres are right up against the first Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $230M, apparently within $1M of paying a tax for the second straight season, something their owners seem extremely reluctant to do. Reports are the Friars are looking to deal some of their bigger salaries for help elsewhere on the roster. While first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder Wil Myers have little appeal to St. Louis, there are a couple of pitchers on the team that would pique the Cards’ interest.
At his best, Blake Snell has been a Cy Young-winning performer. However, that was four years ago and marked the only time he has received any votes for the award (and for the MVP, too), as well as his only season as an All-Star. Since then, he’s pitched to a very middling 4.20 ERA over 326 innings. He’s shown dominance with 430 strikeouts during that stretch, but 150 walks demonstrate he’s not sure when the ball is going every time it leaves his hand.
A rough first few months last season – including a 5.44 ERA through July – was followed by a dominant stretch in August and September in which he posted a 1.83 ERA. The Padres and their fans hoped this stellar performance was a sign of good things to come in 2022. So far, not so much.
Snell has missed time due to injury, so he’s only made eight starts, and while the Ks have been there (50 in 40-1/3 innings), continued wildness (23 walks) has led to a 5.13 ERA and zero wins to date.
Is this someone the Cardinals really want to acquire? Well, if the price is right, the risk/reward profile could be enticing. With a $13.1M salary this season and a $16M price tag next year, the Padres have incentive to move him to free up payroll, so maybe the required return wouldn’t amount to much.
Perhaps a couple of 24-year-olds, Lars Nootbaar and Johan Oviedo, would be enough of a promising return for San Diego. Dollars currently allocated to Snell could be used to bolster their roster elsewhere, and they would receive a couple of young-ish players who could develop into helpful pieces in the future.