St. Louis Cardinals

As the trade deadline approaches, Cardinals are looking for ‘the right deal’

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn and outfield Tommy Pham could both end up playing in a different uniform as the trade deadline approaches.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn and outfield Tommy Pham could both end up playing in a different uniform as the trade deadline approaches. AP

There’s a feeling around Busch Stadium that new St. Louis Cardinals General Manager Mike Girsch will pull off a trade before the non-waiver deadline Monday.

And we’re not talking about a small deal like the one he made Friday when left-hander Marco Gonzales was traded to Seattle for minor-league outfielder Tyler O’Neill.

Lance Lynn, Randal Grichuk, Jedd Gyorko, Trevor Rosenthal and Tommy Pham could be in play. Even Matt Carpenter might be available for an American League team seeking a designated hitter, which probably is where Carpenter is best suited.

There are so many directions the Cardinals can turn. Girsch isn’t showing his hand even as he acknowledges this is his “first rodeo” as a GM.

“Not anything worth reporting on,” Girsch said from the home dugout Tuesday. “Just trying to find the right deal.”

It’s safe to assume the Cardinals are not interested in acquiring a rental player, one who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

2020 David Wilhelm

They prefer to add a player that would help them this season and beyond. But contenders asking for Lynn, Grichuk, Gyorko and others aren’t interested in dealing major components from a team that could be playing in October.

Lynn, 30, is an interesting case. The right-hander can be a free agent at the end of the season and the Cardinals have had no conversations with him about a new contract.

Will the Cardinals permit him to play out his contract and move on, receiving only a draft pick from the team that signs him? Or will the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Yankees offer an intriguing package of young players that could provide even more options for the Cardinals?

“I’m not going anywhere,” Lynn said after the Cardinals’ 3-2 win in which he did not receive a decision.

The Cardinals already have an abundance of youthful position players. Grichuk is 25. Paul DeJong is 23. Luke Voit, Kolten Wong and Stephen Piscotty are 26. Carson Kelly is 23. Magneuris Sierra is 21. Harrison Bader, who made his major-league debut Tuesday, is 23. Aledmys Diaz — remember him? — is 26.

“We’re not auditioning for next year yet,” Girsch said despite the inexperience on the roster. “These are all the guys that we think give us the best chance to win. Now, if you’re in the big leagues, you’re always auditioning for something. But they’re all up here (excluding Sierra and Diaz) because we’re trying to win.”

In the past, it was fashionable to describe teams as being buyers or sellers at the deadline. The Cardinals, and some other teams, fall into neither category.

“I think there are a lot of teams that are on the fringes of contention that are trying to figure out what they’re going to do,” Girsch said. “That could result in total chaos on the 31st or it could result in a lot of people standing pat. I think a lot of teams are in a similar boat to us. They’re trying to find a deal that makes sense. But what makes senses might change day to day over the next week.

“I have no idea how it’s going to play out. ... Do we know what we’re going to be? No. We think there are moves to be made that can’t be easily categorized into either of those (buyer or seller). We’re going to try to find the best moves we can.”

David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm

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