TRADING TRACK RECORD
Most importantly, an Ohtani trade fits the track record of the St. Louis Cardinals front office. John Mozeliak and his team have a history of trading for disgruntled superstars with a year remaining on their contracts.
In 2009, the Cardinals traded with the Oakland Athletics for Matt Holliday. They gave up top prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortenson, and Shane Peterson. Wallace, Mortenson, and Peterson. Wallace, Mortenson, and Peterson never made a major league impact. Holliday signed with the Cardinals and most recently entered the St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Fame.
In 2019, the Cardinals traded with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Paul Goldschmidt. They gave up Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver, and Andy Young. Kelly is the only one still on the team. Goldschmidt signed with the Cardinals and is likely to win the 2022 NL MVP.
In 2021, the Cardinals traded with the Colorado Rockies for Nolan Arenado. They gave up Eleheuris Montero, Austin Gomber, and others. The package of players has struggled to make a major league impact. Arenado is likely to opt-in to his contract and remain with the Cardinals, and is likely to finish top-three in NL MVP voting.
Stop me if you see a trend. The St. Louis Cardinals are quite good at capitalizing on the availability of pending free agents on struggling teams. John Mozeliak and his team know how and when to pursue a frustrated all-star, trade for him, and let the magic of the St. Louis experience convince those stars to stay long term.
It’s an incredible formula for success, and the Shohei Ohtani situation fits the formula quite nicely.