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St. Louis Cardinals: Why Redbirds Should Avoid Trading for Starting Pitchers

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 27:  Joe Kelly #58 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 27, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
Adam SpencerCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2012

The St. Louis Cardinals have been linked in trade rumors to pitchers like Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The rumored deal would involve trading outstanding young pitching prospect Shelby Miller in exchange for basically renting Greinke for the rest of this season.

Though the Cardinals could use some immediate help with their pitching staff, making this move for Greinke would be incredibly shortsighted.

The biggest area the Redbirds need pitching help is in the bullpen, specifically from a left-handed reliever. After all, the Cardinals pitching staff has a 3.91 ERA, good enough for 13th in the majors. That’s not a great number, but it’s enough to keep the Cardinals competitive and get them into the playoffs if they improve their bullpen.

After factoring in the massive struggles of the bullpen lately, the starting pitching looks even better.

Other factors to consider when looking at whether or not to acquire a starting pitcher at the 2012 trade deadline include the development of young starters like Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly.

Lynn, a 2012 All-Star selection, is currently 11-4 with a 3.41 ERA and 105 strikeouts in place of Chris Carpenter. No one could have seen that coming before the season started, but Lynn’s dominance is a large reason the Cardinals are only 2.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.

Then there’s Joe Kelly. He’s slowly proving he can be a valuable back-of-the-rotation guy in the majors. So far in 2012, he has a 1-1 record with a 2.70 ERA. Trading for a guy like Greinke would ensure that Kelly would end this season in the minors, when what he really needs is more Major League experience.

Another reason for not trading for a starter in July is that left-hander Jaime Garcia is scheduled to return in August.

The current rotation of Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook, Lynn and Kelly has proven it can hold down the fort for now. When Garcia returns for the stretch run, it will be like the Redbirds made a blockbuster trade.

Therefore, John Mozeliak should hold onto his most valuable assets, most notably Shelby Miller, and focus on acquiring left-handed bullpen help. Shoring up the bullpen will help the current starters flourish and will help this team make yet another playoff push.

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