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Cardinals should destroy the Marlins

A series preview

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals continue their 10-game homestand with four games against the Marlins. It should be said that the Marlins are clear sellers, having already jettisoned Adeiny Hechavarria. It should also not go unnoticed that the Cardinals record and the Marlins record aren’t that dissimilar. That’s the NL Central in 2017. The Cardinals should destroy the Marlins.*

*With title, .565 W%. Without title, .448 W%

We know the Marlins are sellers and that the Cardinals might be buyers. Let’s rank the Marlins players in terms of their odds of being traded to St. Louis, factoring in whether I have any interest in whether the Cardinals acquiring such players. With apologies to the Marlins rotation, infield, and bench.

  1. A.J. Ramos: The Marlins closer fits previous Cardinals bullpen acquisitions. He’s kind of expensive at $6.5 million. He’s okay, but not a lockdown guy by any means. He has another year of control. This is like the rich man’s version of the Steve Cishek trade.
  2. David Phelps: Maybe Phelps should be number one on this list. He’s been about as effective as Ramos, would probably cost less in a trade, and has another year of control at a slightly lower cost. Still a step up from Steve Cishek, this is maybe the Zack Duke trade.
  3. Kyle Barraclaugh: We’ve talked about Steve Cishek a couple times. Barraclaugh is actually the guy the Cardinals traded to get Cishek. Since joining the Marlins he’s struck out a crazy amount of guys while walking an also crazy amount. He doesn’t hit arbitration until 2019 so he might be more expensive in a trade.
  4. Christian Yelich: The Marlins are supposedly open to selling anyone, which would include Yelich, though I’m not sure I understand why they would trade him. He’s 25 years old and the team has him signed through 2021 with an option for 2022 and he’s not expensive. He’s everything people hope Stephen Piscotty will be except with better baserunning. He’s having a down year yet his 1.4 WAR would be second on the Cardinals to Jedd Gyorko. He wouldn’t bring that big bat to the lineup people want, but he’s a good player and better than what the Cardinals have. He would likely cost a lot, making a trade a tough one to pull off.
  5. Marcell Ozuna: The Marlins left-fielder and former center fielder would fit the big-bat profile the Cardinals are seeking. Ozuna has mixed good and bad over his years with the Marlins, and his .350 BABIP isn’t likely to stat that high, but he does have good power. If his increased patience and 9.3% walk rate is for real, Ozuna might be the best outfielder the Marlins have. Ozuna has two more years before free agency so the Marlins might be inclined to sell high in case he comes back to earth.
  6. Giancarlo Stanton: The Marlins massive rightfielder is owed roughly $300 million over the next decade. He’s been injured off and on, but the power is still there. Given that contract, the Marlins shouldn’t expect much in return, but if the Cardinals were interested in changing the dynamic of the team, taking on Stanton’s contract would certainly do so. He’s still just 27 and a four-win player. It might not be very likely, but it is certainly fun to dream on.

As for the Marlins rotation, it looks like Jeff Locke will get the start today. THe lefty has made six starts and not pitched particularly well, carrying over from the last few seasons in Pittsburgh. He’s likely to face off against Adam Wainwright.

On the fourth of July, Jose Urena gets the call. The 25-year-old righty has a 3.42 ERA, but he’s only striking out 15% of batter and hasn’t pitched as well as his ERA would indicate. He’s pitched pretty well over his last four starts, going at least six innings with three earned runs or less in each one. He didn’t allow a homer in any of those starts after allowing six in the four starts before that. Lance Lynn will go for the Cardinals.

On Wednesday, Edinson Volquez will go for the Marlins. Volquez pitched a no-hitter earlier this season, but has otherwise pitched like the average pitcher he is. He walks 14% of batters and takes a long time in between pitches which can make him a bit of a bore to watch. He doesn’t give up a ton of homers, though, using his sinker nearly half the time. Mike Leake is likely to pitch for St. Louis.

On Thursday, Tom Koehler is in line for the Miami start. Koehler was on the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis for more than a month, so it is tough to put too much stock in his stats before that time, which were really bad. He’s been a bit below average but above replacement the last few seasons so it is unreasonable to expect any more than that at this point. Michael Wacha is in line for the start for the Cardinals.

Monday, July 3, 6:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Tuesday, July 4, 1:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Wednesday, July 5, 7:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Thursday, July 6, 12:45 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest