Friday, July 18, 2014

Will the Cardinals make a big splash this trade season?

With the All Star Break out of the way (finally) and meaningful games being played again, many will be turning their focus to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. 

The last couple years have seen little trade activity for the Cardinals.  Last year, the Cards acquired John Axford, but not until after the trade deadline.  Before that, in 2012, the team acquired Edward Mujica. In fact, you have to go back to the July 2011 trade deadline for the last significant move at the deadline.  That was the year that saw the club trade Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller and a couple prospects for Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepcynski, Octavio Dotel and Corey Patterson.

Now, with the deadline less than two weeks away, we're left to ponder what John Mozeliak has up his sleeve this year.  Will he make the big move to acquire a hitter or a pitcher or will he just tinker with the bullpen (or make some other minor adjustments)?

The Cardinals have been reportedly looking at adding an offensive upgrade at second or third, which would likely push Kolten Wong to the bench.  Ben Zobrist is a prime trade candidate for the Cards, but the Mariners are reportedly pursuing him, according to Jon Paul Morosi

On the other hand, the season-ending injury to Jaime Garcia and the uncertain status of Michael Wacha, not to mention the recent demotion of Shelby Miller to the pen, have many concerned about the Cardinals pitching depth.  Jeff Samardzija is already off the market and while David Price is available, the Cards will have many competitors to acquire his services (including the aforementioned Mariners.).

Derrick Goold was a guest on Buster Olney's Baseball Tonight podcast, in which he indicated that he thinks the Cardinals would at least be willing to discuss a deal involving Oscar Taveras for David Price.  At a minimum, Goold says that the Cards will have to address their surplus of outfielders at some point.

Another concern is the loss of Yadier Molina, who will likely be out for the rest of the regular season.  ESPN's Jim Bowden (subscription required) reports that the Cardinals are planning to scout the Twins' Kurt Suzuki as a potential upgrade over Tony Cruz and George Kottaras.

My guess is that the Cards will be relatively active this go around.  They won't make any big moves, but will make a series of middle-tier moves to shore up their lineup and rotation.  I think they will go after Suzuki, then add an infielder, such as Zobrist or Martin Prado and maybe an innings eater, such as Jake Peavy.  None of these guys will cost the Cards a lot, but each of them would be an upgrade at the respective positions.

At this point, its all speculation as its difficult to tell which direction Mo will go or if he even will make a move.  The team certainly has the pieces in place to make a splash, with an abundance of major league ready outfielders and young arms to dangle in front of selling teams--basically, the Cards have the pieces to acquire any player they want. Its just a question of who do they want and how much are they willing to give up.

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