It’s tough to write something on the morning of the Trade Deadline, when the moves of the St. Louis Cardinals could either be already done or only beginning. But from where we sit as I type, with the Cardinals acquisitions limited to a couple of DFA’d relievers, I’d suggest they better not be done.
The Front Office told us they were All In for this season, and they’ve only got a few hours left to show it.
Now to be clear, I don’t believe a thing the front office says at face value. But beyond just the talk and the obnoxious #TimeToFly hashtag, this team made moves that were more short-term focused: Notably trading for aging players like Goldschmidt and Miller.
The problem with the construction of the 2019 Cardinals is - and has always been - that they stopped there. They acquired enough talent to put them right in the mix with the Cubs and Brewers, but not enough to make themselves the prohibitive favorites.
That’s competing, sure. But it’s hardly going “all in.”
I was one of many who advocated for a Bryce Harper signing... or some other free agent acquisition to really push the team over the top. The narrative seems to be that Harper is some kind of bust in Philadelphia, but his 2.3 WAR would be good enough for 2nd on the Cardinals right now, and his 118 WRC+ would tie him with Ozuna for the team lead.
Even more frustrating over the first half of the season has been the Cardinals refusal to improve even through internal moves. Michael Wacha remained in the rotation despite repeated poor performance. Matt Carpenter stayed not only in the lineup but in the leadoff spot well past when it was clear he was struggling. The team was slow to pursue internal fixes like Daniel Poncedeleon and Tommy Edman, let alone consider lingering free agents like Gio Gonzalez or Dallas Keuchel.
But even with that stubbornness... While it looked like the Cardinals team was a bust, it appears that Mo’s algorithm may be intact. The Cardinals are in first place at the very moment, but for all intents and purposes, on equal footing with the Cubs and Brewers.
Today at 3pm is the deadline for them to change that.
The team desperately needs a starting pitcher. I’d of course love to see them get the quality and name brandiness of Noah Syndergaard, but I’d settle for many of the other options rumored to be available: Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, Mike Minor... and so on. I’m willing to give the front office quite a bit of the benefit of the doubt on WHO they acquire as long as they do SOMETHING.
Wins are never more valuable than when they push you into the playoffs, and for the St. Louis Cardinals, they are even more valuable when they vanquish the Cubs at the same time. Now is the time to trade from the hypothetical future to get those Wins.