Cheap Seats

Halladay, Stanton and Heyward on the minds of St. Louis Cardinals fans

A tip of the Cheap Seats Cap to former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies hurler Roy Halladay who tragically died at 40 on Tuesday doing what he loved – flying his personal aircraft.

Halladay was never a St. Louis Cardinals player. But he did have a couple of ties that earned the respect and admiration of Redbirds rooters.

First, he was a more-than-worthy foe in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS which remains one of the most amazing games I have ever watched. At Philly’s home park, a notorious launching pad for home runs, St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter outdueled his best friend 1-0 after the Cardinals scored the only run of the game in the first inning.

It seemed impossible that the one tally would stand up. But somehow Carpenter made it work, recognizing the inconceivability of his accomplishment by erupting with emotion after the last out was recorded.

Second, there were rumors about the time 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis that the Blue Jays had Halladay on the trading block. Cardinals fans were salivating about the possibility of adding Doc to the top of the Redbirds rotation alongside his best buddy. When the All-Star Game parade wound its way through the streets of St. Louis, Cardinals fans chanted “We want Roy!” as the star hurler passed by.

Unfortunately, Cardinals fans’ wish didn’t come true. But Halladay was still appreciated in St. Louis as he was around the league for his excellent contributions both on and off the field. Another great guy gone too soon.

On to more trivial matters:

One particular sports pundit is floating the rumor that Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton wouldn’t accept a trade to St. Louis. Why?

I get that Stanton is a West Coast guy and the broadcaster is pretty openly cheerleading the movement to get the slugging right fielder in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform.

But Stanton knows that he can’t force a team that doesn’t want to take on his massive contract to accept it. The Dodgers, his alleged destination of choice, are already pretty stacked as evidenced by their appearance in the recently concluded World Series.

Los Angeles has several young and talented outfielders who cost a tiny fraction of the $295 million Stanton will receive over the next 10 years. If he decided to push for a trade to the nearby Anaheim Angels, that’s an even less plausible scenario.

The Halos just re-upped Justin Upton, so I’d be surprised if they wanted to add another nine-figure player this winter. I doubt Anaheim would want to add any player who is making more money that the $254 million Albert Pujols is being paid in his horrific contract.

So if the Cardinals make the best offer, Stanton would be nuts not to take the opportunity. The Marlins have already said that they plan to cut their payroll by about $50 million. If Stanton’s true wish is to play for a contender, why would he stay with a team that would tie up about one-third of its total budget on him?

If Stanton stayed, both Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna would have to go. And that would be just the beginning of the carnage. Or he could come to St. Louis where he would play in front of 40,000 plus fans every night, be on national television a lot and, if he hated it here, he could opt out in three years to sign wherever he wanted.

Keeping track of the neighbors, I was shocked to hear Tuesday that the San Francisco Giants are interested in a trade that would take former St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward off the hands of the Chicago Cubs in return for pitching help.

On one hand, that’s a bummer because I was hopeful the Cubs would suffer for years after handing an all-glove, no-hit outfielder $184 million. But on the bright side, the Giants were one of the California teams said to be interested in Stanton. So if they have Heyward in right field, they have no room for Stanton.

I doubt the Cubs would suddenly jump in on Stanton because the Marlins, more than anything, want cheap, young pitching. The Cubs gave away most of their minor-league stars already in trade and they’re especially short in hurler prospects so it doesn’t seem like a match.

Hopefully, this Stanton talk will come to a head soon with a little more than a week and a half to go before the Cardinals must make some pretty serious 40-man roster decisions.