As we approach August 1, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
St. Louis Cardinals: 46-42, 2nd in the NL Central
Usually a 46-42 record at the All-Star break wouldn’t mean a club is seven games back, but that’s where the Cardinals currently sit behind the 53-35, division-leading Cubs. St. Louis is just one game back of a Wild Card spot in the National League, though five clubs sit within 1.5 games of a berth at this point.
The Cardinals have dealt with some unforeseen issues so far, with Lance Lynn missing the year with Tommy John surgery and Jhonny Peralta’s prolonged injury absence along with struggle-causing demotions for both Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk. Despite all this, the Cardinals (as they always are) are in contention and could be dangerous come October.
With a strong rotation and a solid core of position players, any moves the Cards make before August 1 will likely be complementary ones. Such was the case last season, when the club acquired Brandon Moss, Steve Cishek and Jonathan Broxton in deals before the deadline.
What moves have they made so far?
St. Louis has done little of substance to this point, only making two minor deals involving players who were designated for assignment. The team sent lefty Jayson Aquino to Baltimore in early April and acquired outfielder Jose Martinez from the Royals in mid-May.
Are they buyers or sellers?
Unsurprisingly, the Cardinals will be buyers at the deadline. They likely won’t be involved in rumors surrounding the best available players, as the top chips this year all reside in the outfield. St. Louis’ group of Grichuk, Matt Holliday and Stephen Piscotty is unlikely to be tinkered with.
The biggest area of need for the Cardinals is the bullpen, and a baseball source confirmed recently that the club is indeed looking into which relievers they may be able to acquired before August 1. The team has considered promoting flame-thrower Alex Reyes to be a bullpen piece, though has not made a move on that yet and is said to be considering trades as well.
The Cardinals could also look to make a move for a backup catcher, as they currently have Alberto Rosario and Michael McKenry serving as backups to veteran Yadier Molina. The catching market is headlined by Jonathan Lucroy, though some lesser options (Derek Norris being one of them) will be out there as well.
What moves could they make?
The Cardinals will likely look to add a reliever, and may do so soon after the All-Star break due to the quick-progressing state of the reliever market. Fernando Rodney (Marlins) and potential Cardinals target Brad Ziegler (Red Sox) have already been dealt, but there are plenty of options available on teams that have fallen out of contention.
As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently noted, the Cardinals have long had interest in Yankees reliever Andrew Miller, who is considered a trade candidate along with teammate Aroldis Chapman. Though Miller has reportedly been re-assured by the Yankees that a deal is not likely, many in the game believe he still could be moved. If Miller is truly available, the Cardinals will be involved.
Other available relievers include Fernando Abad (Twins), Ryan Madson (Athletics), Joe Smith (Angels), Arodys Vizcaino (Braves), Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith (Brewers), and Daniel Hudson (Diamondbacks). St. Louis is expected to narrow its list of potential targets soon, according to a source, and could strike quickly after the All-Star break.
General manager John Mozeliak and his staff don’t have many holes to plug this summer, though it is expected that the Cardinals will make bullpen moves, whether by promoting Reyes or adding from outside the organization. Though the team does rank 10th in baseball with a 3.66 bullpen ERA, injuries to Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Jordan Walden, and Mitch Harris have weakened the group tremendously.
The Cards may just be a few tweaks away from being able to fully challenge the Cubs, who have struggled in recent weeks and are looking to make more drastic deadline moves. Chicago is expected to be in on Miller as well, though the Yankees would like to hang on to the southpaw.