The Adolis Garcia trade, but the Cardinals were not alone
This one goes firmly in the “baseball is dumb sometimes” category. No one denied that Adolis Garcia had some prodigious power in his bat at the time, but his initial call-up to the big leagues did not go well (in an admittedly very small sample of plate appearances) and the Cardinals ended up trading him to the Rangers for cash considerations after the 2019 season.
The 2020 season came and went without Garcia contributing in the big leagues at all for Texas and the Cardinals were looking quite smart in getting anything for him at all after he cleared waivers for the Rangers and was outrighted to Triple-A. Unfortunately, Garcia got called back up in 2021 and he has been one of the consistent sources of power for Texas’ lineup ever since. We don’t necessarily blame the Cardinals for moving on from Garcia because he certainly had his warts at the time, but having a bat like his in the organization would have made some other roster considerations a lot easier.
The Randy Arozarena/Matthew Liberatore trade
It is clear that during the offseason after the 2019 season, the Cardinals recognized that they might need some pitching help before too long and they deserve kudos for at least trying to remedy the problem. St. Louis again turned to the Rays for their needs (they may want to stop trading with Tampa) and traded for former 1st round pick LHP Matthew Liberatore along with Edgardo Rodriguez and a supplemental 2nd round pick in the 2020 draft for OF/1B Jose Martinez, a supplemental first round pick in 2020, and an outfield prospect by the name of Randy Arozarena.
In fairness, the jury is still out on Liberatore and he could easily still turn into a useful big league starter, but he hasn’t exactly been awesome so far. Jose Martinez didn’t do much for the Rays at all, but Arozarena has turned out to be a stud. Is he as good as he was when he was basically Babe Ruth during the 2020 playoffs? Absolutely not because, well, no one can sustain that. However, he is quickly turning into one of the better young players in MLB right now and is a big reason why the Rays have been on a warpath this year.
One final note, trading away their supplemental first round pick in 2020 didn’t help their previous draft woes even though they got a second rounder back. 2020 was a five round draft and while the Cards did well with the picks they had in that draft, the extra bonus pool and higher pick could have potentially made the class even better.