St. Louis Cardinals: 5 trades which built the bridge to their 105-win 2004 season

St. Louis Cardinals World Series Ring Ceremony
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Trade 4. The Adam Wainwright Trade

Okay, I know. Adam Wainwright was still in the minors during the 2004 season. and had no impact on that 105-win season. Still, the trade had a substantial impact on the 2004 season.

How? It's who the Cardinals got along with Waino in that December 2003 trade. For J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. the Cardinals not only got Wainwright but also pitchers Jason Marquis and Ray King. Both of whom had career years in 2004.

Jason Marquis was a right-hander with a devastating sinker. The Cardinals put him in the rotation which included Chris Carpenter, Woody Williams, Matt Morris, and Jeff Suppan.

Marquis put together a strong season which included an 11-game winning streak, and a shutout streak of 18 1/3 innings. He finished the season with a 15-9 record and a 3.71 ERA. Additionally, he had 138 strikeouts and pitched 201 innings. The New York native was 2nd in the NL in ground ball/fly ball ratio(2.17) and held batters to a .198 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Ray King was part of an effective left-handed tag team with Steve Kline, who came out of the bullpen in 2004. King was an important part of a productive Cardinal bullpen, which also included Jason Isringhausen, Cal Eldred, Julian Tavarez, and Kiko Calero.

The Tennessee native led the Cardinal bullpen in appearances (86). had a 2.61 ERA, built a 30-game scoreless streak from May to July, and had a 2.34 ERA in 14 appearances during the 2004 postseason.

Of course, this trade had ramifications also in 2006, when Wainwright made the Opening Day roster. As a member of the Cardinal bullpen, Waino eventually replaced an injured Jason Isringhausen and closed out the 2006 World Series.