Like a lot of St. Louis Cardinals fans, I’d love to see a big, splashy addition to the team at the trade deadline.
But every day I become a little more pessimistic that something like that is going to happen.
The group of guys the team has now is likely to be, at least for the most part, the same group of guys that will be on the roster down the stretch and for any potential post-season play.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
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When you’re in first place by several games with 10 days to go in July it’s not a fluke.
The Cardinals are a very good team. Statistically, they have the best pitching staff in baseball from top to bottom. They’re strong in the starting rotation and also in the bullpen.
The Birds aren’t prolific with the bats. But, for the most part, they’ve been timely with hits. The most impressive thing about the position players is the depth and the resilience.
Clean-up hitter Matt Adams was lost for the season and the Cardinals just keep on winning. Third-place hitter Matt Holliday was lost for a month and the Cardinals kept winning. Matt Carpenter hasn’t been himself since May, Yadier Molina has suffered a season-long power outage and Jon Jay has fought wrist injuries that have hindered his ability to hit. Still the Cardinals keep winning.
So those are the positives. Why wouldn’t the Cardinals want to add one big bat to turn a good team into a great one?
I’m not sure they don’t WANT to add a slugger. But I believe they’re going to be loathe to pay the price it would take to get a guy like Milwaukee’s Adam Lind into the fold.
In an era dominated by pitching, power hitters are very rare and subsequently very pricey. The Cardinals aren’t going to want to deal from the major league roster and damage the product they’ve built. So that means they’d have to clean out the farm system to make a significant deal.
I just don’t see that happening to solve a short term problem.
So we’ll see Stephen Piscotty try his hand at first base to see if a guy fresh from the minor leagues can boost the offense. It’s worked before. Think about Willie McGee in 1982 and Vince Coleman in 1987.
But I think any addition would be a low-risk gamble like the move of adding Justin Masterson for a minor league outfielder last year as opposed to trading a pair of MLB players in Allen Craig and Joe Kelly (at least they were when they were traded) for John Lackey.
While we all want the Redbirds to win now, the moves the team makes in the next couple of months will play a large role in determining the direction of the club in 2016 and beyond.
Can the Cardinals re-sign Jason Heyward and John Lackey? Will it keep Jaime Garcia? If not, how will it replace them?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Birds take the long view to try to remain highly competitive for several years as opposed to going all-in in 2015.
It would be a nice play if the team would, instead of making a trade at the July 31 deadline, announced it has signed Heyward to a long-term contract.