Making cases for the Cardinals to buy, sell, or float in the middle at the deadline

The Cardinals are in a tough spot as the trade deadline looms. They can make a push for the playoffs, reset the farm system, or do a soft buy.
St. Louis Cardinals v Houston Astros
St. Louis Cardinals v Houston Astros / Logan Riely/GettyImages
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As Major League Baseball's July 30th trade deadline looms larger and larger, clarity begins to grow for some teams. For others, their modus operandi come the end of July isn't settled as of yet. The extra Wild Card spot that was introduced a few years ago has made plenty of teams who float in the middle of the standings waver on their trade deadline approach as of now.

Conversations surrounding trades have already started, and some major trades have already occurred, such as the one that sent Luis Arraez to the San Diego Padres. National writers have begun leaking some details about what teams could do at the deadline this year including ESPN's Jeff Passan.

For a team in the middle of the pack such as the St. Louis Cardinals, there are three possible routes for them to take this trade deadline. They can go all in on the season and be buyers, they can restock for the future and be sellers, or they can operate somewhere in the middle to try and fill holes while not losing key prospects.

There is an almost equal case for each of these routes this year, as the Cardinals (29-31) sit in 3rd place in the National League Central, just 6 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers. They're also a half-game behind the San Diego Padres for the final Wild Card spot prior to games on June 6th. The playoffs are still within reach for the Cardinals.

FanGraphs gives the Cardinals a 31.6% chance to reach the playoffs, though that is the 7th-best in the National League, meaning this projection system doesn't believe the team will make the playoffs this year. Baseball-Reference, conversely, gives the Cardinals just a 4.8% chance of making the postseason this year, far and away the worst in the division.

Regardless of the route John Mozeliak and his staff choose to take at this year's deadline, it will be one that has ramifications for the foreseeable future. Become buyers and the future is a bit jeopardized. Sell and the fanbase will become more scant than it already is. Float in the middle and the team will be stuck with the mediocrity it's experienced for nearly a decade now.

Here are convincing arguments for each of the 3 paths the St. Louis Cardinals can take at this year's trade deadline.