No major SP additions are coming
With Jack Flaherty hurt again, Dakota Hudson joining him on the Injured List recently, and Steven Matz back on the IL follow a one-game return Saturday, the Cardinals are aching for starting pitching help. Despite a large number of options available and an enviable bounty of prospects at their disposal, it’s unlikely St. Louis will put together a package acceptable to the Cincinnati Reds for Luis Castillo, especially considering the intra-division aspect of such a move.
With the Oakland A’s Frankie Montas and Reds’ Tyler Mahle needing to prove their shoulders are healthy, every team will be watching their last starts before the August 2 trade deadline with great interest. The player haul required to acquire either of them would be less than it would be for Castillo, but with the stiff competition expected for each hurler, it’s debatable whether the Cardinals will pony up the return needed to bring one of them aboard.
Are there other big-name moundsmen available? Yes, the Florida Marlins’ Pablo Lopez has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate. He’s having another strong season, and the injury bug that has plagued him in past seasons hasn’t bitten him this campaign. With the Fish well stocked with starting pitching options at the major league and minor league levels, they’re willing to toss Lopez out as bait to see if they can reel in a hitter, particularly a center fielder.
Perhaps Harrison Bader and a bopper – maybe Juan Yepez or Alec Burleson – who could be a solid long-term first base solution, along with a low-minors pitcher to dream on would have been enough to entire the Marlins to make a move. However, Bader is injured and may not return this season, so that greatly reduces the likelihood of something getting done between the two teams before August 2.
Looking back at last year’s acquisitions of J.A. Happ and Jon Lester, it seems the Cardinals aren’t willing to go big in their pursuit of pitching help. Given the current state of the rotation, the need appears to be even greater than in 2021. Will St. Louis pull the trigger on a big-time move? Cardinals fans will be waiting and watching with great anticipation. But don’t be surprised if Jose Quintana is the big addition before the trade deadline