If the Cardinals buy at the deadline, will they make the moves that fans want to see?

The Cardinals are trending upwards as they enter the month of June and may end up being deadline buyers this year. But will they make the right moves?
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The Cardinals look to be trending upwards. They have now won five consecutive series and have propelled themselves to the .500 mark for the first time since April 16.

If they keep this up, they may completely flip the narrative of their season, especially as it pertains to what they'll do at the trade deadline. While many may see this team as a potential seller, they may turn themselves into buyers.

That would be what fans want to see. They were sellers last year and ended up finishing in last place in the NL Central after being unable to overcome a 10-24 start. At this point last year, the Cardinals were well under .500 and slipping in the standings fast.

Now, they have a chance to go over .500 for the first time since April 6 as they begin a three-game set with the Phillies. They also entered Thursday just a half-game back of the final Wild Card spot in the National League.

If the Cardinals find themselves in playoff position or somewhere close, they should be all in on buying and improving the roster.

But if they do end up buying, can fans trust that the front office will make the moves that will put the team over the top?

If the Cardinals buy, will the front office do it right?

For years, we have witnessed the Cardinals take half-measures as opposed to going all in and trying to turn this team into a World Series contender. Sure, they've made some big moves here and there, but never that final big one that would put them over the top.

Back in 2021, they needed starting pitching, and they got it. But guys like Max Scherzer and Jose Berrios were available. Instead, they settled for Jon Lester and J.A. Happ. This past offseason, Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, Jordan Montgomery, Jordan Hicks, and Seth Lugo were all available. While they signed Sonny Gray, they settled for far less with the other two rotation spots, adding Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson.

Granted, Lynn and Gibson are pitching well, but they don't give the Cardinals the fearsome rotation they need in order to compete for a title.

So, can fans truly trust that the front office is going to do this right?

Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that they can. The DeWitt's have operated with a tight budget and John Mozeliak has shown an unwillingness to make big trades. To a degree, that's understandable after the Randy Arozarena and Marcell Ozuna trades. But not since acquiring John Lackey have they made a blockbuster trade at the deadline. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 2009 when they traded for Matt Holliday.

Those deals were not easy to make. Mozeliak had to part ways with Brett Wallace in 2009 and trade away two popular Cardinals in Joe Kelly and Allen Craig to make the Lackey deal work five years later. Every good trade hurts to make at least a little bit.

But what evidence suggests that the front office is going to go all in instead of settling for incremental improvements? It is for this reason that there are still fans who think selling at the deadline is the best approach. Even Jim Bowden of The Athletic believes it's the right call.

Even with the team playing better, it's hard to imagine them lasting long in the playoffs against teams like the Dodgers and Phillies. The starting pitching market may be thin, and with a farm system that isn't terribly deep, it may not make sense to give up top prospects just for this year.

They need a top-level starter, not a back-end guy. But even that may not save them this year. Hopefully, they'll do it right if they're buyers, but I'm afraid I just don't see it.