Cardinals Trade Rumors: 5 Last-Minute Deals to Save the Season

Corey NolesCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2012

Cardinals Trade Rumors: 5 Last-Minute Deals to Save the Season

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    With the MLB trade deadline looming just days away, the St. Louis Cardinals have yet to make a move.

    That doesn’t mean fans shouldn’t be expecting one though.

    General manager John Mozeliak has always done a good job of keeping potential deals quiet until they happen. The team runs a tight ship when it comes to leaks.

    With that being said, Mozeliak does drop hints on occasion.

    While he has confirmed that the Cardinals will be buyers, just what they are after remains to be seen.

    The original belief was that the Cardinals would be chasing another starting pitcher, but in an interview with Jennifer Langosch of mlb.com he noted that’s not the glaring need it once was.

    "Our starters have been great," Mozeliak said. "I think clearly it takes a little pressure off in terms of feeling like we have to do something. If you were to go after a starter, who are you really bouncing out? And how are you improving? That's why I don't think the urgency is quite there for rotational help as maybe it was, say, three or four weeks ago."

    That doesn’t mean they aren’t after a starter, just that they are comfortable with their rotation if they did decide to stand pat.

    Follow the link for a handful of realistic possible trades the Cardinals could make to hold the season together.

Francisco Liriano LHP, Minnesota Twins

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    What would the Cardinals have to give up?

    The Twins would likely require a pair of decent prospects in a Liriano deal. I would expect the Cardinals to include something like Zack Cox and Tyrell Jenkins to get it done. Cox is road-blocked by David Freese for the time being and Jenkins has a lot of potential, but is still at least a year (possibly two) away from the major leagues.

     

    What would he do for the Cardinals?

    Liriano has had a rough year to put it gently, but a change of scenery could be just what he needs. The Cardinals would like another lefty, and at only 28 years old Liriano would be a good fit for the Cardinals. He could be had for a reasonable price and would be within the Cardinals range to re-sign, meaning it could be more than a two-month rental.

Josh Johnson RHP, Miami Marlins

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    What would the Cardinals have to give up?

    Josh Johnson, while a long shot, would be a bigger pull for the Cardinals and require a bigger sacrifice. It's possible they could get him for a Cox/Jenkins package as mentioned for Liriano, but most likely the Marlins would want Shelby Miller for Johnson.

    The Cardinals have shown willingness to deal Miller, but it's unlikely they would without an extension in place. With Adam Wainwright needing to be re-signed in the near future, it's unclear whether they would be willing to sign another big name.

    What would he do for the Cardinals?

    Johnson could potentially have a huge impact on the Cardinals if a deal could be reached. Acquiring another impact starter would give the Cardinals freedom to move rookie Joe Kelly, who has been quite successful, into a long relief role. That would help to fill the void that has been needed since Kyle McClellan was injured in April.

Peter Bourjos CF, Los Angeles Angels

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    What would the Cardinals have to give up?

    The Los Angeles Angels have shown an interest in Marc Rzepczynski and Bourjos is a likely trade candidate. It's possible this deal would be straight up or could include an extra reliever to the Cardinals.

    What would he do for the Cardinals?

    While the Cardinals don't need a center fielder, an extra bat off the bench who could spell Jon Jay or Carlos Beltran could have a place in St. Louis. While Skip Schumaker and Matt Carpenter have filled the gap, the Cardinals don't like putting Carlos Beltran in center field if it can be avoided.

    Bourjos is a good defender, but has been pretty bad at the plate in 2012. He's yet another guy who could benefit from a change of scenery. If he could be the Bourjos of 2011, he'd be a nice acquisition.

Jonathan Broxton RHP, Kansas City Royals

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    What would the Cardinals have to give up?

    Kansas City closer Jonathan Broxton could likely be picked up by the Cardinals in exchange for Tyrell Jenkins or a similar prospect. It's possible Broxton could take more than that, but he would be affordable.

    What would he do for the Cardinals?

    With Broxton on board, the Cardinals could let he and Jason Motte share eighth and ninth inning duties and put Mitchell Boggs as more of a seventh inning pitcher. Boggs has been great for the Cardinals this year and to have him in the earlier relief spots would be invaluable to the team and would solve a handful of bullpen concerns.

Jason Vargas LHP, Seattle Mariners

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    What would the Cardinals have to give up?

    A recent report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports had the Seattle Mariners scouting pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins. While there is no way to say for sure what they were after, Rosenthal speculated they were considering trading Jason Vargas to the Cardinals. As a straight-up deal for either Jenkins or reliever Trevor Rosenthal, this is a possibility.

    What would he do for the Cardinals?

    Vargas would do the same thing Liriano or Johnson could do for the Cardinals, just at a considerably lower cost. Vargas has put together a very respectable 2012 going 10-7 with a 3.91 ERA. He's not considered a strikeout pitcher, but he is an innings eater having thrown 138 so far this season.

    Vargas would be a good fit in St. Louis and could be had fairly reasonably. The other advantage is that Vargas is more than just a rental. He won't be a free agent until 2014, so it wouldn't be like ditching the farm system for a short term rental. 

    While there is no guarantee the Cardinals will make any moves before the deadline, there's a good chance they will do something. They aren't going to rake in Zack Greinke, but the front office has a way of getting something good for their money.

    It worked for them in 2011.