Why the St. Louis Cardinals Standing Pat at Trade Deadline Was Right Choice
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All was quiet for the St. Louis Cardinals as Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline passed.
General manager John Mozeliak wasn’t under the gun to make a blockbuster deal to further enhance his troops for the remaining two months of the season. St. Louis, like many other organizations, stood pat instead of making an ill-advised move. By doing so, Mozeliak made the right choice for many reasons.
Most importantly, the Cardinals boast the best farm system in baseball. Their ability to consistently develop prospects is second to none. A trade likely would have cost Mozeliak at least one top prospect, such as outfielder Oscar Taveras or second baseman Kolten Wong. The likes of fireballers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal and starters Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and Joe Kelly could have certainly been in the mix as well.
Mozeliak wasn’t going to be played by pulling the trigger to improve his club for the next few years at the expense of the promising futures of so many talented prospects.
Here’s what ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote about the Cardinals before the trade deadline:
The Cardinals have so many prospects backed up from the Gateway Arch to Peoria, they could make just about deal they want. But in case you hadn’t noticed...[they] feel as if they have a better rotation now than the group they won the World Series with two years ago and aren’t interested in overpaying for a [pitcher or player].
For those who remain bitter about Mozeliak's inability to land another workhorse for the rotation, allow me to jog your memory on where the Cardinals starting pitchers stand in comparison to the rest of Major League Baseball.
The Cardinals own the third-best ERA (3.28) in all of baseball, have thrown the fifth-most innings pitched (666.2), allowed the third-fewest earned runs (243) and boast the sixth-best opponents batting average (.245).
The Cardinals are also the league’s most productive offensive team, even despite their dreadful seven-game losing skid, which was snapped with a 13-0 rout over the Pirates Thursday night. They have scored the most runs (518), have the best average (.273) and boast the best on-base percentage (.334) in the NL.
Sure, Mozeliak could’ve gone after an upgrade at shortstop over Pete Kozma, who has the second-lowest average (.236) among all qualified MLB shortstops, according to ESPN.com. But according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mozeliak did not explore the market for a shortstop.
“Pete does a very good job defensively,” Mozeliak said. “And from an offensive standpoint up until this last week our team has been scoring runs, and we didn’t really feel compelled to chase something that wasn’t really there.”
As one of the best teams in the game, the Cardinals begin the race to October as an organization loaded with depth at nearly every position. And they remain a very rugged team for any opponent to beat.
“We feel we have a very good team,” Mozeliak said, per Goold. “When you look at the opportunities that might have been out there to truly improve everything comes at a price. We didn’t feel the price was right.”
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