Nothing reflects the difference between watching the St. Louis Cardinals all year and thinking about the trade deadline and just watching them near the trade deadline so much as this: We're supposed to believe the Cardinals' list of needs doesn't really have a right fielder anywhere on it, despite Shane Robinson starting there in their 3-1 win Thursday.
The same is true, I think, of shortstop—only prolonged exposure to Pete Kozma last year makes it plausible to believe that one of the best teams in the National League would even think about barreling down the stretch with a .242/.286/.297 hitter in the lineup.
The post I'm working on isn't ready yet—ETA this afternoon—but I guess that's one of the questions I'm interested in asking about the trade deadline, as it closes in on us: In which areas does your prior knowledge of the Cardinals, or what you think to be prior knowledge of the Cardinals, challenge national guesses about their trade deadline plans? And is that different interpretation of things helpful or not?
We've already had one obvious instance of this: The Cardinals' alleged interest in Alexei Ramirez. Granted: it didn't take a working knowledge of the Future Redbirds Top 20 to know that Carlos Martinez was an overpay. But it came to those of us who've already spent years trying to generalize from the John Mozeliak Worldview much earlier.