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Game 97 Open Thread: July 23, 2006

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marquis billingsley
11-7, 5.97 1-2, 3.66

edmonds now has 8 homers this month. in his 6 years as a cardinal, he's exceeded that number only 4 times; august 2001 (9), august 2004 (10), july 2004 (13), and june 2003 (14). he's got 8 games left this month . . . .

the last line of joe strauss' article this morning neatly sums up the cardinals' pre-deadline trade position: "One realist pondered the hitter-pitcher question and offered succinctly, 'I think we'll take both.'"

a pitcher would help more, but hitters will be more freely available; you improve where you can. in 2004 the cards already led the league in runs scored and had a productive corner-outfield platoon; their pitching staff was the question mark. but when larry walker shook loose, the cardinals grabbed him --- and became more dangerous as a result.

the freest commodity on the trade market so far has been relief pitching -- and there, too, the cardinals could stand an upgrade. three of their potential playoff opponents -- the reds, padres, and braves -- have already acquired bullpen help; the white sox and rockies are still looking, but it's a buyer's market and i'd be surprised if the cardinals aren't shopping. one oft-named target, roberto hernandez, has been awful lately -- 18 baserunners in 5.2 innings this month -- but he still throws hard and he doesn't flinch. if the pirates are going to get anything for him, now's the time. another pirate reliever who's likely available, damaso marte, is having a good-not-great year; he walks too many guys and hasn't gotten left-handers out as reliably as usual this season, but he'd upgrade the soft left side of st louis' bullpen. another lhrp, arthur rhodes, will be moved for sure, but hopefully not to the cardinals; he's had one good month (may) and three terrible ones in 2006. the marlins signed joe borowski for just this opportunity -- ie, to trade him in july. but he might be the best of the crop, might generate a minor bidding war; won't come cheap. somebody might want to add the orioles' latroy hawkins, but he's got a strange stat line this year: only 18 strikeouts in 41 innings for this perennially hard thrower.

of the bunch, borowski and marte look like the most helpful imo; neither will be easy to get. to acquire bob wickman, the braves had to give up a good-hitting 21-year-old catcher in low-a ball; can the cardinals afford to part with their version of same, bryan anderson, for one postseason's worth of joe borowski? i doubt it.