So the all-star game happened last night, and it was the first one I watched all the way through since I don’t remember when. For the longest time, I boycotted the all-star festivities (with the exception of the 2009 season, when the game was held here and I managed to attend on the RFT’s dime, which I was willing to completely abandon my beliefs for), due to the fact I thought the World Series home field thing was an abomination, and I refused to acknowledge or participate in the continuing farce.
Well, a funny thing happened while I was watching the game last night: I think I might just not care about the all-star game period. Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoyed seeing some of the best players the game has to offer on a huge stage, and seeing Carlos Martinez go out and put together an historic performance was frankly awesome. But overall, I kind of found the whole thing sort of underwhelming. I don’t want the game to have meaning attached to it, but yet if the game doesn’t mean something I can’t really get into it. I enjoy spring training games immensely, and they mean nothing, but yet this exhibition just didn’t do it for me. I think ultimately I just enjoy following the ebb and flow of the season, whether it’s the Cardinals or some other team that happens to be on television. A big exhibition, for whatever reason, just doesn’t really appeal to me I guess.
We are, however, smack dab in the middle of the all-star break, which is really more important to me than the all-star game, and provides a neat and tidy moment to step back and evaluate. It doesn’t fit within my trimester theory, nor does it properly cut the season into actual ‘halves’, but all the same. The all-star break is a moment to look around, assess, and prepare for the sprint to the trade deadline at the end of July.
And that deadline is, in large part, what I want everyone to consider today. There’s been a huge amount of digital ink spilled around here regarding the proper way forward; buying or selling, all-in or all-out, long-term or short-term, the present or the future. The Cardinals are at a crossroads this season, it would seem, and which direction they choose to move will dictate much of what happens with the franchise for the next few years.
Of course, buy or sell is a false dichotomy; you can absolutely do both, and probably the best way forward for the Redbirds is, in fact, to do both. If there is one watchword I would advocate for the Cardinals this year, I think it would have to be consolidation. The Cards need to figure out a way to consolidate value, to turn this vast collection of solid players in to a leaner, tighter machine, with a star or two at the center powering the whole enterprise. That process would likely require multiple moves, of both the buying and selling variety.
However, today I don’t want multiple moves, of both the buying and selling variety. Today I want to know something much more specific.
What I’m interested in today is what you would do if you had complete power over the Cardinal front office, but only for one move. That’s right; you can make absolutely any deal you want (within reason, as in no trading Kevin Siegrist for Aaron Judge), but you only get one. You can buy or you can sell, target any player you like, whatever you want. But just one move.
Essentially, I want to know what your priorities are. You have to decide what one change to the roster or organisation is most important to you, and put that front and center.
As is usually the case, I will give my own answer to the question. My one move, if I only get one, is to deal Trevor Rosenthal and/or Seung-Hwan Oh to whichever team offers me the most in return. I’m basically assuming the answer is Washington, and I’ve already stated elsewhere my targets are Juan Soto, Carter Kieboom, and if I could somehow really get the Nats over a barrel, Victor Robles. Robles is likely a pipe dream, but all the same that’s my pie in the sky target.
I realise I’ve included two relievers, and most likely moving both of them would constitute two moves, rather than one. Rosenthal is my priority to move, because I think he’s the real value at this point. But if a team with an absolutely horrific bullpen — like, say, the Nationals — just wanted to acquire two back-end arms in one fell swoop, I would be more than willing to oblige them.
Essentially, what I’m saying is trying to cash in at least one and hopefully two big trade chips to extract value from them is my number one priority. Even if I can’t do anything to upgrade this year’s team, I think moving those pieces and not standing still, allowing them to simply continue on and basically expire, is the most important move I can see for this club. I think it’s simply too important to the future of the franchise to not take advantage of a couple pieces that are valuable, but far more so to another team than to the Cardinals right now. And if that somehow torpedoes my contention this year, then so be it.
So what about you? You get one move and one move only. Make it count.
And let’s see where your priorities lay.