With MLB nearing the end of the midsummer night’s bad dream, some members of Cardinal Nation have turned their respective attentions to ways to improve an already solid team enough to push it past the Reds and Pirates in the NL Central. Some seem ready to consider just about anything, some want a big time star in return for pennies on the dollar, and then there is me. That’s not to say that everyone fits into 1 of the 3 categories, but those 3 groups seem to be making the most noise.
Give them a lot of credit. This group would trade their own mothers just for a shot at someone like Cole Hamels or Felix Hernandez. They have no issue whatsoever investing themselves 100% in any potential deal, regardless of who the Cardinals have to give up in the process. Maybe that approach looks a little shortsighted, or maybe they possess a preternatural desire to see the team win now. Regardless, this group lacks nothing in terms of willingness and desire.
The Dreamers want a lot of the same things the first group wants as well. The primary difference? The Dreamers want a trade for Hamels or Hernandez or anybody else that would bolster the starting 5, and they see no reason why anybody wouldn’t take Tyler Greene, Mark Hamilton, and Adron Chambers in return. Also, they have no concerns about the notion of “cost prohibitive”, either. If only the Cardinals could work in a financial vacuum and not be concerned about the fiscal repercussions. If only.
I see no problem with trading away some prospects. Oscar Taveras remains off the table. Forever. Same likely goes for Ryan Jackson. Mention either, and I’ll crawl into a corner and find a binkie and a blankie. Just about everybody else may be considered “fair game”. Taking on a huge contract makes little sense, especially if it handicaps the team in terms of retaining players. As always, special considerations must be made for special circumstances.
Cole Hamels – Intriguing idea, but with Hamels likely looking at a huge deal after his walk year, even an expensive rental approach seems like a waste.
Roy Halladay – Even more intriguing idea. Doc has less than $10M owed to him for the balance of this year with $20M due for 2013 and a vesting option of $20M for 2014. Considering his recent injury and his current age (35), would you consider a deal involving say….Shelby Miller, Daniel Descalso, and Jaime Garcia for Halladay? Would Halladay consider a trade to St. Louis to be reunited with his fishing buddy, Chris Carpenter? I do not see how pulling a trigger on a deal like this makes sense, but if the asking price didn’t involve Garcia…..
Justin Upton – It might be difficult to fathom parting with Jon Jay, but a trade involving Jay, another MLB player, and a couple prospects would not necessarily be a horrible idea for the “win now” approach. Upton has $9.57M, $14.25M, and $14.5M due in 2013-2015, but his career OBP of .357 and serious power would make him a really good fit in the 2-spot of a lineup that can already bash.
Huston Street – The Padres were among several teams that sent scouts to the series against the Marlins just prior to the break. Presumably, they were there to actually scout and not just try out the 2.75 pound hot dog now available at Busch. Were they looking for potential trade targets with Street on the block? It would make sense, because the Friars are on the hook for the remainder of his $7.5M salary this season and likely the $500K buyout of his deal for next year. The Rockies practically gave Street away to the Padres, but the Padres would likely seek some cost certainty in any deal involving street for major league caliber players. Considering their needs, I could see them showing interest in someone like Matt Carpenter and at least 1 prospect.
Luke Gregerson – Gregerson represents a more sensible option to Street, and he comes at a much more reasonable cost. He’ll be arbitration eligible for 2013, but his $1.55M salary for 2012 likely means a much less painful increase for someone the Cardinals could lock down for multiple years. Gregerson’s numbers do not come close to Street’s this year, but I have a hard time accepting the idea that Street won’t regress in the near future. Also, Gregerson was originally drafted by the Cardinals and became the “player to be named later” in the Mark Worrell for Khalil Greene deal.
Worth noting is the large group of fans who seem perfectly willing to stand pat and let the season play out. I find it difficult to argue with that logic at this point. Even without Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, the team stands a few games away from leading the division. Most teams cannot reasonably expect to make the playoffs every season, and maybe a strong run that ends short of the postseason beats trading away the future for a perceived shot at the present. Maybe.
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