Yesterday, I pondered whether the 2014 incarnation of the St. Louis Cardinals was worth betting on with a trade. About ten minutes after the post published, general manager John Mozeliak gave me his answer by trading former first-round pick James Ramsey for righthanded starter Justin Masterson. In the end, the Cards acquired a starter kind of like Jake Peavy—a flawed innings eater who might not be entirely healthy. At least Masterson strikes batters out.
Upon reading the Twitter news that the Cardinals had traded for Masterson, I thought to myself that Non-Waiver Trade Deadline Thursday would be much more productive at work. (Since becoming a baseball blogger, I differentiate even in my inner monologues between the waiver and non-waiver trade deadlines.) Well, it seems that my relief was misplaced. At least according to some of the usual Twitter gossips and some reputable reporters. This tweet from Ken Rosenthal of FOX was the first of many to pop up in my timeline:
Lester, traded to Oakland this morning, is now out of the running, but he's not the only one out there. Ace Cardinals reporter Derrick Goold writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The Masterson deal does not preclude the Cardinals from pursuing other targets as Thursday's trade deadline approaches. It adds a pitcher who brings innings to the rotation while not costing them any of the prospects or the draft pick that have been involved in other discussions. His addition would allow the Cardinals to consider moving a pitcher they currently have in the rotation.
And Goold expanded some during a radio appearance on the McKernan and Edmonds Show:
From @dgoold: I know the Cardinals are still talking. This move frees the Cardinals up to discuss trading Shelby Miller if they want to.— Tim McKernan (@tmckernan) July 30, 2014
Later, Peter Gammons offered this grist for Ye Olde Rumour Mill:
But for those Cardinals fans hoping for an upgrade to the team's anemic offense, the news that the club might make another trade doesn't come with much smoke, even during this silly season of rampant gossip.
From @dgoold when I asked who would be a name to help the offense: "I've got nothing, man. Maybe Ben Zobrist. Maybe Marlon Byrd."— Tim McKernan (@tmckernan) July 30, 2014
Mozeliak was playing coy on additional moves in his public statements, even making jokes about tweets regarding the Cardinals potentially making another move:
Following Masterson acquisition, John Mozeliak tells me "I don't anticipate anything happening between now and [tomorrow's deadline]."— Chris Hrabe (@chrabe) July 30, 2014
(You can listen to Mozeliak's entire KMOX interview with Chris Hrabe here.)
MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch passed along a similar sentiment from Mozeliak:
Mozeliak also joked with Jim Hays of Fox Sports Midwest:
Mozeliak on if the Cards are done dealing: "apparently we're in on a lot of things...according to twitter". #STLCards— Jim Hayes (@TheCatOnFox) July 31, 2014
Whenever I read an article (or, nowadays, a tweet) that is premised on anonymous sources, I always ask myself: Who would say this to a journalist so that it is made public and why? This practice is particularly helpful during the silly season of the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, when tweets, blog posts, and newspaper articles are filled with the language of caveat—such as "seems," "appears," "might," and "could." It seems (see what I did there?) that there are three possibilities regarding the latest round of Cardinals trade rumors:
- The Red Sox were telling reporters that St. Louis was still in on Lester, and may give them Miller, in an attempt to maintain a high selling price on the veteran starter.
- The Cardinals are telling reporters that they are still in on top starters, and may give up Miller in such a deal, in an attempt to maintain a high selling price to keep their chief Central competitors from getting such a pitcher for a cheaper price.
- The Cardinals are actually making a legitimate push to land a front-end starter before today's non-waiver trade deadline and are dangling Miller in this endeavor.