St. Louis Cardinals Aim to 'Win Now,' Like Right Now

Spurred to action by the looming non-waiver trade deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals completely revamped their major league roster over the past week. The roster machinations began when the club exchanged with Toronto the package of Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters for Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczinski, Octavio Dotel, and Corey Patterson. On Saturday, the Cardinals addressed their weakest position by acquiring oft-injured shortstop Rafael Furcal from the financially troubled Los Angeles Dodgers.

With four of the five players acquired only under contract through the end of the 2011 season, the roster makeover has understandably been characterized as one aimed at helping the Cardinals "win now." With the club's best player, Albert Pujols, perhaps leaving town after the season and Tony La Russa's future as murky as ever, John Mozeliak has seemingly doubled down on this 2011 club, hoping that strengthening the rotation with Jackson, reinforcing the bullpen, and potentially upgrading at shortstop will be enough to propel the team past the Brewers on the home stretch of the pennant race.

To make room on both the 40- and 25-man rosters for the newest Cardinal, Furcal, the Cardinals shifted the injured Eduardo Sanchez from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list and optioned Tyler Greene to AAA Memphis. In the wake of this shuffling, here is the Cardinals' revamped 25-man roster:

 

C

IF

OF

SP

RP

Y. Molina

A. Pujols

M. Holliday

C. Carpenter

F. Salas

G. Laird

S. Schumaker

L. Berkman

J. Garcia

J. Motte

T. Cruz

D. Freese

J. Jay

E. Jackson

L. Lynn

R. Furcal

C. Patterson

K. Lohse

M. Boggs

R. Theriot

J. Westbrook

K. McClellan

D. Descalso

O. Dotel

M. Rzepcynski

 

*I have grouped the players the same way the Cardinals' official website does, by primary position. This is the best way to do this since there is really no way to take into account where Tony La Russa may play a player on a given night.

For the pitchers the Cardinals acquired, here are the stats for their respective careers, 2011 seasons, and their ZiPS Rest of Season projection via Fangraphs.

 

Jackson

ERA

FIP

xFIP

K/9

BB/9

Career

4.51

4.35

4.39

6.73

3.73

2011

3.78

3.21

3.49

7.06

2.87

ZiPS RoS

3.91

3.67

--

6.91

3.26

 

 

Rzepczynski

ERA

FIP

xFIP

K/9

BB/9

Career

3.95

4.06

3.73

8.33

4.06

2011

2.83

3.14

3.19

8.06

3.27

ZiPS RoS

5.29

4.08

--

7.41

4.76

 

 

Dotel

ERA

FIP

xFIP

K/9

BB/9

Career

3.74

3.85

3.66

10.88

4.07

2011

3.34

4.35

3.94

9.19

3.62

ZiPS RoS

4.00

3.66

--

9.83

4.11

 

For the pitchers the Cardinals traded away, here are the stats for their respective careers, 2011 seasons, and their ZiPS Rest of Season projection via Fangraphs.

 

Miller

ERA

FIP

xFIP

K/9

BB/9

Career

4.18

4.38

4.39

7.50

4.08

2011

3.86

4.77

5.70

5.51

4.94

ZiPS RoS

4.09

3.90

--

7.36

4.09

 

 

Tallet

ERA

FIP

xFIP

K/9

BB/9

Career

4.76

4.83

4.90

6.58

4.13

2011

8.31

7.22

5.21

6.23

3.46

ZiPS RoS

5.21

4.89

--

7.11

4.26

 

 

Walters

ERA

FIP

xFIP

K/9

BB/9

Career

7.24

5.86

4.39

7.06

3.88

2011

7.20

5.79

4.37

7.20

5.40

ZiPS RoS

5.63

4.62

--

7.31

3.66


*Walters' stats are his major-league stats.

For the position players acquired by the Cardinals, here are the stats for their respective careers, 2011 seasons, and their ZiPS Rest of Season projection via Fangraphs.

Patterson

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Career

.253

.291

.402

.693

.304

2011

.251

.284

.375

.659

.285

ZiPS RoS

.252

.294

.378

.672

.299


Furcal

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Career

.283

.349

.407

.756

.337

2011

.197

.272

.248

.520

.241

ZiPS RoS

.261

.326

.378

.704

.311


For the position players traded by the Cardinals, here are the stats via Fangraphs.

Rasmus

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Career

.256

.331

.439

.770

.334

2011

.237

.324

.406

.730

.323

ZiPS RoS

.247

.327

.443

.770

.335


Castellanos

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

Career

.283

.347

.480

.827

--

2011

.319

.379

.562

.941

.408


Much virtual ink has been spilt over Rasmus, the drama, the tools, the numbers, the economics, and more. I don't have much to add to the Rasmus Trade-A-Thon discussions from last week. Castellanos is a 24 year old who was hitting well in AA Springfield, but likely not in the organizational long-term blueprint. (Although, at this point in time, who can say whether anyone save Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are in the five-year plan, but I digress.) His OPS is slugging-heavy and likely bloated due to a .382 BABIP likely unsustainable with his 17.2% LD rate. Castellanos would have been unlikely to man left field with Holliday there for the next five and a half years or displace Berkman or Craig there in coming years. Dealing Castellanos to the Dodgers to place a wager on Furcal being healthy and productive seems fair to me.

Last night, the Cards lost to the Cubs for the second time in the ten times the two clubs have met this season, meaning St. Louis finishes the seven-game home stand against the cellar-dwelling Astros and Cubs was just 4-3. Tied for first place when the club left Pittsburgh last Sunday, the Cardinals are now 2.5 games back of the Brewers as they arrive in Milwaukee for a head-to-head series today. Tonight's game will likely be the debut for the new-look roster and lineup. Furcal will likely start and play shortstop and the strengthened bullpen will be at La Russa's disposal as they back up Garcia, Carpenter, and newcomer Jackson. Every one of the new Redbirds will likely see action this series and it will be interesting to see how the newly transformed Redbirds measure up to the first-place Brew Crew. The phrase "win now" has never been more apropos.
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