There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks about if the middling St. Louis Cardinals would be buyers — or sellers — at the rapidly-approaching trade deadline.
ESPN chimed in with a report that the Redbirds are entirely uninterested in making a trade for a slugger who would be a short-term rental. That’s not really a surprise.
But it seems to rule out a potential reunion with 2013 hero Carlos Beltran, who currently toils for the New York Yankees. While Beltran’s switch-hitting abilities are attractive, the problem with the St. Louis roster is that it is already full of outfielders with Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, Kolten Wong and Jeremy Hazelbaker currently taking up playing time and Brandon Moss working his way back from an ankle injury. If only Beltran could play third base … It seems more likely, if Jhonny Peralta’s latest thumb injury lingers, that Matt Carpenter will go back to the hot corner and Kolten Wong would split second base with Jedd Gyorko.
Besides the battered bullpen, it’s hard to pinpoint an area where the Birds could make an obvious improvement. They have a solid core of starting pitchers. They have plenty of fly-chasers, as previously mentioned, and they’re pretty deep on the infield.
Meanwhile, in don’t see this club making any drastic moves to reduce payroll. The Cardinals count on spinning the turnstiles to punch above their weight in the payroll deparment. They can’t afford a total teardown like the big-market Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. Those drive away fans in droves. Besides, that’s not really what they need with plenty of young talent already on hand to build around.
Count on the Birds to make another middle-of-the-road move or two like they’ve done over the past couple of seasons as opposed to a transformational pickup. A reliever or two. Maybe a backup catcher to replace the one they foolishly gave away.
As I mentioned last week, if the Cardinals deal, it will be moving surplus for an area of need. Maybe a change of scenery for Wong, Matt Adams and/or Trevor Rosenthal. But this team isn’t going to deal its top prospects for a short-term solution.
For better or worse, the same bunch of players who have underachieved all year are going to make or break the 2016 season.