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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The case to float in the middle

For years, this has seemed like the route the Cardinals have taken. John Mozeliak has often shied away from trading for big-name players like Juan Soto, David Price, and Max Scherzer. Mozeliak and his operatives love their prospects, and the market they operate in hinders them financially with some deadline trades.

Rather than making these big splashes, John Mozeliak has opted to make trades on the margins. The core of the roster has been sound for over 2 decades now; adding a reliever or two here and a bench piece there has allowed the front office to keep its beloved prospects while not hampering the major league roster.

In 2021, the Cardinals acquired J.A. Happ and Jon Lester. Neither was a frontline starter, but they both provided value down the stretch. In 2022, the Cardinals traded for Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana. Neither was amazing for their previous organizations, but both were exceptional for the Cardinals, particularly Jordan Montgomery.

These are the types of moves fans are accustomed to seeing from John Mozeliak. If this is the approach the Cardinals take at this year's deadline, fans can expect the team to maintain its current state and possibly exceed the precious 86-win mark that is often needed to make the playoffs. Players like Paul Blackburn, Tyler Anderson, Tanner Scott, and Tommy Pham would be players who could be acquired if the organization chooses this approach. Those are all very serviceable players, and they won't cost much in prospect (or financial) capital to acquire.

This approach will allow the organization to keep prized prospects like Tink Hence, Victor Scott II, and Thomas Saggese. It also won't hamper the cohesion that seems to be present on the major league roster. This approach isn't necessarily the most sexy, but it sure is the most prudent.