St. Louis Cardinals: A Story of Warning

Peter FleischerSenior Writer IJuly 11, 2008

While it seems like everybody and their mother is campaigning for the Cardinals to get aggressive and make a move to try and secure the NL Central, I'm simply here to tell a story.

"In the very distant past, the St. Louis Cardinals were enduring a difficult season, one with many hardships and bad breaks. Yet they found themselves in contention under an amazing manager and a group of players that wouldn't say quit.

Towards the trading deadline, their general manager made a move he thought would push this team over the hump, I suppose. He acquired a wily veteran pitcher who pitched very well for the club down the stretch thrusting them into the playoffs.

Alas, that year wasn't their year, and they fell just short, losing in the playoffs before even making it to the World Series.

The end."

Now let's take a look at the specifics here, and the long-term effects.

The year was 2002, and the Cardinals were actually a much more talented team then they are right now. They had Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Fernando Viña, Edgar Renteria, Matt Morris, Jason Isrinhausen, and other top-notch players.

Around the deadline, as told in my masterpiece of a story, Walt Jocketty traded for Chuck Finley, from the Cleveland Indians. And do you know who he traded to get him?

Coco Crisp.

(Son of a bi*ch. There's the twist!)

So now we see the long term impact of a shortsighted deal. Finley retired after the season, and Crisp turned into the leadoff man, defensive expert, and speed demon the Redbirds desperately need to set the table and get on base.

But hey, at least the Cardinals got a NLDS banner out of it. Right?

The point of all of this is that the Cardinals farm system is oozing with talent right now. While I'd love to see the Redbirds acquire a true superstar or rare talent, like Matt Holliday or Brian Fuentes, I don't want to see Colby Rasmus, Bryan Anderson, Jaime Garcia, Clayton Mortensen, Jess Todd, or Pete Kozma traded for anybody.

If Mozeliak can swing a deal that sends Ludwick, Anthony Reyes, and Jason Motte (a starter to replace Holliday, a talented starting rotation canidate, and a decent prospect) for Matt Holliday, I'm all for it.

If he can give up an easily replaceable talent and a disappointing prospect (Adam Kennedy/Brendan Ryan and Kelvim Jimenez/Adam Ottavino) for Fuentes or a middle infielder with an expiring deal (say, Orlando Hudson?), I'm down.

But I don't want to see the team plug a hole that will be easily filled next season by a cheap and talented prospect. The Cubs and Brewers are good this year. Let's face it. If Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter aren't going to be enough in August, then we probably don't stand a chance anyway.

The club is still recovering from shitty signings (Mulder, Kennedy), so if we don't win the World Series this year, I'm satisfied with the development of our younger players and an opportunity to compete when the club rights it's ship.

Throwing away the future for an NLDS crown isn't worth it.