To Trade Or Not To Trade?

Now that the “unofficial” second half of the season has started, I want to talk about what is and should be ahead for the Cardinals.  When the last half of July rolls around, the most talked about topic in baseball is, of course, the upcoming trade deadline and who is or isn’t going to make a splash.  When we think big splashy trades, we think of teams like the Red Sox, or the Dodgers.  We also think of teams like the Marlins and the Blue Jays, who seem to think trading players is in itself a major sport.  We don’t think of the Cardinals, that bastion of conservatism when it comes to player turnover.  The Cardinals don’t make splashy trades; the Cardinals bring up young players from the farm system who fit in seamlessly and make other teams wonder what the Cardinals put in their minor league drinking water.

No, the only trade of recent memory that could possibly come close to being splashy, was the three team trade of Colby Rasmus in 2011.  That trade was made more out of the necessity of separating Rasmus and his manager Tony LaRussa before someone got hurt, though the return the Cardinals obtained did help them win a World Series.  That return didn’t “return” much of anything after that (though we did get a draft pick that returned us Patrick Wisdom, so there is something yet unrealized). There was also last season’s trade of Allen Craig and Joe Kelly; that trade was more surprising than splashy.  Surprising perhaps most of all to Craig, Kelly, and their teammates, who learned of the trade the same way the rest of us did, from the media.  Oops.

Most years the Cardinals do something low key, a minor player for another minor player.  There was Michael Blazek for John Axford in 2013, who remembers who Michael Blazek was?  We remember Axford, because he is kind of hard to forget, but do you know where he is now?  Then there was Zack Cox for Edward Mujica in 2012.  Mujica was a great deal for us until he wasn’t, but a gold star for anyone who knows what in the world happened to Zack Cox.

No, the Cardinals are anything but splashy.  I suspect if the Cardinals make any trades this season, it will be of the low key variety.  Perhaps a bullpen arm, or a first baseman that comes cheap. No Joey Vottos, Paul Goldschmidts or Freddie Freemans will occupy first base for the Cardinals in the second half.  More like an Adam Lind, or an Ike Davis or a Logan Morrison.  Someone who fans will say, “that guy?” over.  That is the Cardinal Way, amirite?

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not complaining.  Splashy deals that are expensive are for suckers.  Most of them turn out to be a big wet dud.  The San Diego Padres made a bunch of these splashy deals in the offseason and where did it get them? Have the Marlins or the Blue Jays set the world on fire in the last several years?

I think low key deals are just fine for the Cardinals.  They tend to work out more often than they don’t.  John Axford and Edward Mujica were good for us.  If you don’t count the Craig/Kelly deal as splashy (I don’t) then that one has worked out in spades.  The Red Sox will probably never trade with the Cardinals again.  John Mozeliak is a crafty dude.  Don’t underestimate him, he knows how to get value under the radar.

I don’t expect this trade season to put the Cardinals on the map, so to speak.  That is just fine with me.  The Cardinals get enough media attention as it is, and not in a good way.

Low key, yeah that’s the ticket.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

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