With the All-Star break quickly approaching, the St. Louis Cardinals trade rumors continue to swirl. At this point, it doesn’t even appear General Manager John Mozeliak has a game plan, but is willing to deal.
Pitching being a weak point, the Cards could definitely add depth in the rotation or bullpen in order to stay in the hunt for the National League Central pennant, possibly only vying for a spot in the wild card. Having plenty of depth in the outfield, this seems to be the Cardinals’ best option in order to pick up a solid 2 or 3 guy at pitcher. With that, take a look into the outfield depth.
The starters could easily rotate if one were to be dealt away. Matt Holliday has been the primary left fielder this season, but with his age catching up with him, his numbers seem to be slipping. This season the 34-year-old has put together a .261 batting average, .367 on-base-percentage, and .376 slugging percentage. These are slightly less than his impressive career statistics in these categories with .309, .386, and .523 respectively.
Jon Jay has recently taken the starting position in center field away from recently acquired Peter Bourjos. Jay has been a pretty consistent hitter for the Redbirds, but with all the depth already in the outfield, he could be involved with a possible trade in order to acquire a slugging infielder or a solid starting pitcher. With a $3.25 million salary this season, it appears by trading Jay the Cards could open up some money for a high-end player. As much as fans tend to enjoy Jay’s success, being traded is just a part of the business side of baseball.
Finally, over in right field, injury plagued Allen Craig and rising star Oscar Taveras seem to be sharing starts. If Jay were to be traded, Taveras would make a solid center fielder; he’s fast, swings a solid bat, and has a pretty good arm. Craig also wouldn’t be a bad choice for center either. However, Craig could also be dealt. With his talent ceiling continuing to rise, I highly doubt Mozeliak would be willing to give up his number one prospect.
On the bench, the Cards have Bourjos, who is being paid the least out of the outfielders, excluding the rookie Taveras. The 27-year-old center fielder could be a solid starter in center if Jay or Craig were to be dealt.
The depth in outfield seems to be a double-edged sword for the Cardinals at this point. As stated earlier, there has been large amount of talks that the Cards are looking to add a solid hitting third or second baseman. If a third baseman were to be signed, Carpenter could be moved back to second to replace Daniel Descalso or an inconsistent Kolten Wong. If a second baseman were to be picked up, the Cards would be able to upgrade Descalso’s .186 average. It also seems Wong can put up great numbers for the triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds, but once brought up to the show, he forgets his swing.
With all of these possibilities, it will be interesting to see what the Cards’ front office will pull off before the trade deadline, July 31st.