Talk abounds today that the Cardinals are one of a handful of teams that might be a nice landing spot for Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza.
The evidence is purely circumstantial. So there may very well be nothing to it. But, while the Redbirds could certainly use a starter of Garza's ability to nail down the second spot in the rotation, there's just no way I am giving a division rival the sweetest fruit of the Cardinals farm system -- especially if the team in question is the Cubs -- if I was St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak.
In fact, I don't know if I would give up any of the top pitchers in the system -- Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez -- as part of ANY deal.
Wouldn't it make more sense to match up with a team outside of the National League Central that wouldn't force St. Louis fans to look at our lost youth six series a season from now until free agency?
Now, this is just a throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks sort of proposal. I wouldn't want to draw the wrath of the online naysayers who love to tell people how stupid they are when they make trade proposals. But I think the Tampa Bay Rays might be the best dance partner the Cardinals can find at the trade deadline in 2013.
First, Tampa has ace pitcher David Price, fresh off a Cy Young Award-winning season. And Price is a season and a half away from free agency. It's extremely doubtful the Rays would be able to sign him to an extension. So now, as opposed to next season when he's a pricey half-season rental, might be the best time to trade an ace hurler.
Price missed June with a triceps injury that has held his numbers down this season. But he's healthy now. In fact, he's pitched back-to-back complete games, spitting a pair of decisions despite allowing one run in the first game and two runs in the second.
And therein lies the angle for the Cardinals to trade with Tampa Bay: The Rays have a ton of pitching but they desperately need offense. And the Cardinals have a glut of offense capable of filling the first base and corner outfield spots -- not to mention to serve as designated hitter -- but they need a veteran who can back up Adam Wainwright at the top of the rotation.
How good would Matt Adams, a guy the Rays could control for six years who would hit 30-plus homers in the middle of their order playing every day, look in Tampa sky blue? A lot better than he would look manning first base for the Wee Bears for the next decade, that's for sure.
Tampa knows it can't afford Price long term. Adams gives them cost certainty which allows them to keep other key parts of the roster together to remain competitive. And the Cardinals could kick in some second tier pitching to help replenish the Rays pitching staff for the near future. Tyler Lyons? Maybe John Gast or Seth Maness. If I were in charge and it stood between a handshake, I might even part with Michael Blazek. But the Cardinals, if the Rays want to get a deal done, ought to be able to keep Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha in red and land price. And that possibility might not exist with other clubs who aren't currently competitive. They'd be more willing to wait for young talent to develop than to land a major league-ready player.
Such a deal would help both teams in that the Cardinals would get the pitching they need without giving up any of their top three prospects -- and Oscar Taveras will slide into Adam's roster spot next season. Tampa would get a boost to its offense while losing a guy who -- although he is a great pitcher -- hasn't been instrumental to their season as he has only three wins so far this year. In return the Rays get short term AND long term offensive help.