Cardinals should lower their trade deadline aim to bullpenners

Posted by Scott Wuerz on July 29, 2013 

About a month ago I wrote a post in which I suggested that the Cardinals go after Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy to add some beef to the front of their rotation for the playoff push.

But, as things seem to go in major league baseball, the market has spiraled completely out of control and the Pale Hose seem to be under the delusion that they're going to get three top prospects for a pitcher who seems to spend as much time on the disabled list as he does in the rotation.

I thought, at the time, Peavy might be a relative bargain. He was out of action with a rib cage injury. So he had to be cheaper that Cubs trade bait Matt Garza, right? Well... as it turns out... not so much.

And, if that's the case, to heck with it. There are very few players on MLB rosters whom I would be willing to trade the top prospects in the Cardinals system to get. And I'd sincerely doubt that many of those guys are available...

So, while I am typically in the corner of trading unproven prospects for veteran talent,(within reason) this does not seem to be a time of reasonability.

Maybe the Redbirds would be better off trying to bolster their bullpen and the go with what they have for the playoffs.

The emergence of Joe Kelly as a legitimate starting pitcher has stabilized the starting five for the regular season. If the Cardinals could get a dominant righty bullpenner or two, maybe they could make like Tony La Russa and use the weaker starters for four or five innings and then pull the plug at the first sign of trouble.

I was shocked to see the Redbirds bring up Marc Rzepczynski after his exile to the minors. But, if he is effective, the Cardinals could potentially have a seven-man bullpen with three lefties and two righties that would allow the team to drive the opponents (and opponents' fans) nuts by making a call to the bullpen twice and inning in the second half of the game. In fact, in a short series, they could probable send the fifth starter to the bullpen to be an eighth reliever.

A closer might be ideal because his acquisition would push Edward Mujica back to the seventh inning where he has spent most of his career. But, failing that, ESPN reports that the Padres have put the for sale sign out in their bullpen where Luke Gregerson (2.98 ERA, 42 1/3 IP, 35 hits, 37 strikeouts and 9 walks) and Dale Thayer (2.66 ERA, 47 1/3 IP, 38 H, 47 strikeouts and 16 walks) currently toil.

Maybe the Redbirds could get one or both of them from "second tier" prospects instead of Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha... 

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