Is there any better evidence of the reasons the St. Louis Cardinals shouldn't trade Oscar Taveras as part of a package to land Tampa Bay ace David Price than the team's 1-0 loss Thursday night to the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Incumbent ace Adam Wainwright threw a brilliant complete game, allowing only one run. Yet it did the Redbirds absolutely no good because the team couldn't score a single run and it collected only five hits against Dodgers starter Josh Beckett.
The Cardinals rank near the top of MLB teams in many starting pitching statistics. But the offense is near rock bottom. What difference does it make if it's 5-0 or 1-0, if the Birds don't find a way to score more runs, they're going to continue to lose too often.
So is it a good idea to trade their best offensive prospect, Oscar Taveras when the Cardinals are desperate for offensive help? He's on the brink of making it to the big leagues permanently after a brief taste of the majors earlier this month and could be making a difference tomorrow -- and for years to come.
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While he hit only .189 during his brief stay, Taveras certainly didn't seem over-matched. He hit the ball hard consistently but didn't have a lot of luck with balls falling in. If he had a better, longer chance, I'm sure the statistics would even out. His home run in his debut gave a glimpse of Taveras' upside.
Much of the logic behind acquiring Price would be to give the Cardinals a formidable one-two punch in the playoffs. But if the season ended today, the team would stand to play a one-game wildcard match-up against LA on the road. Is that a good enough chance for which to deal away so much young talent? The Birds could make the playoffs and Price would never get a chance to pitch if the results are similar to Thursday.
I was totally on board when St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak dealt away chronic under achiever Colby Rasmus for short term help during the 2011 post season run. He was able to address several needs of an otherwise strong team with one move. Sometimes one bold move can do the job and it was worth it to lose some future potential to hang another World Series flag at Busch Stadium. But the Cardinals might have needs this year that one deal can't fix.
I honestly believe this club would be better off to call up Taveras and let him play and develop than to trade him away for a pitcher. Even for a great pitcher. How many pennants did the Milwaukee Brewers hoist at their ballpark when they traded for C.C. Sabathia and Zack Grienke? None. Then they watched those players wave goodbye when their contracts were up because they had no chance to re-sign them. Ironically, just as the Brew Crew is recovering from the loss of talent they traded away to land those pitchers, they Redbirds seem to be considering a similar risky move.
First, conventional wisdom dictates that a position player who could have an impact on games six to seven days a week is more valuable than a pitcher who could make a difference one or two days a week. Second, the Cardinals need offense more than pitching, so Taveras would have a better chance to provide the missing ingredients for 2014 than Price. Third, the Birds would be in better position for the long run to keep Taveras.
If the team was able to trade Taveras as part of a package for a slugger like Giancarlo Stanton who would give the club an immediate offensive transfusion, I'd be for it. But it makes no sense to reinforce already strong pitching while ignoring the anemic offense.