FOX’s Ken Rosenthal dropped an interesting note in his recap of trade deadline notes: The Cardinals entered the Sonny Gray discussions late, offering a package of outfielder Stephen Piscotty and a pitcher, either Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty, before the Yankees and A’s finalized the deal that sent Gray to New York.
St. Louis was never linked to Gray in pre-deadline rumors, so their late effort comes as a significant surprise. The talk around the Cardinals all weekend was that the club could unload free agent-to-be Lance Lynn in a Monday trade, but it appears the Cards were actually looking to add and not subtract at the deadline.
Piscotty, who signed a 6-year extension with the Cardinals in early April, has seen his stock drop a bit this season with a .236/.348/.371 line and only six home runs in 69 games. St. Louis has a surplus of outfield options, with Piscotty, Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk, Magneuris Sierra, Harrison Bader and newcomer Tyler O’Neill all in the organization, so it makes sense that general manager John Mozeliak would look to move one of them for controllable pitching.
Weaver and Flaherty are two of the club’s top pitching prospects, ranking behind only Alex Reyes in the team’s farm system. A package that included Piscotty and one of those pitchers ultimately fell short compared to the Yankees offer of Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo or James Kaprielian, but speaks to the Cardinals’ potential trade strategy moving forward.
Going forward, the Cards do have controllable rotation options, with Carlos Martinez, Reyes, Weaver, Michael Wacha and Mike Leake all under control for years to come. The team is likely to be on the lookout for free agent pitchers this winter with Lynn and Adam Wainwright scheduled to hit free agency in the next two years.