The Cardinals Fill: Possible Three Team Trade?

Joel KochSenior Analyst IJuly 23, 2008

Here we are, a mere week away from the Non-waiver Trade Deadline. There have been several trades already, but more are still to come.

A lot of names are still floating out on the market. There are several names that could be moving relatively soon.

Here is a three team trade that could be possible. Now, I say it could be possible because it could be possible Alex Rodriguez is traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s highly unlikely that this trade that I have concocted goes through, I’m just throwing this out there to get some reactions.

Involved in the trade are the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals. This entire trade is based around need, salary dump and prospects. So, here’s the trade for your viewing pleasure:

Baltimore Orioles receive: IF Joe Inglett (TOR), RHP Joel Piniero (STL), RHP Anthony Reyes (STL), IF Jarrett Hoffpauir (STL) & RHP Chris Perez (STL)

Toronto Blue Jays receive: IF Adam Kennedy (STL), RHP Mike Parisi (STL), C Bryan Anderson (STL), OF Shane Robinson (STL) & RHP Bradley Bergesen (AA, BAL)

St. Louis Cardinals receive: IF/OF Marco Scutaro (TOR), RHP A.J. Burnett (TOR), LHP George Sherrill (BAL) & IF Brian Roberts (BAL)

Before I breakdown why each team gets each player, I want to point out some financials (taken from Cot’s Baseball Contracts). The Orioles will dump roughly $600 thousand, assuming that each team picks up the last 40% of the player’s 2008 contracts (all years past 2008 aren’t included).

The Blue Jays would dump $4.2 million, while the Cardinals would add $775 thousand. Not bad all around.

Ok, now the breakdown. The Orioles are in a rebuilding mode, but could use a shortstop. Inglett is a utility player by trade, but he could be better used at short. The Orioles have been cycling through a lot of shortstops, and Inglett is still far from arbitration. Sure, he’s 30 years old, but he’s under control for a lot of seasons. That’s what is important.

The Orioles also add a contract in Piniero, but more importantly, another starter. Even more importantly, a veteran starter to a young rotation. Reyes is a young arm who needs a change of scenery and could become a top starter for the young Orioles rotation. It’s a good gamble to take when you’re dumping more salary than you’re taking on in 2009.

Then look at the two prospects they add. They lose Roberts and replace him with a 2B of the future in Hoffpauir. They lose Sherrill, their closer, and replace him with a closer of the future in Perez. Add Perez into the mix with Chris Ray, and the Orioles 2009 bullpen is looking solid.

Now the Blue Jays. J.P. Ricciardi is going to lose his job soon unless he can make his case to stay on by showing he cares about the future. What better way to show that than to shed Burnett’s salary and adding four prospects who are close to or are Major League ready?

Parisi was very good in the bullpen for the Cardinals before moving to the starting rotation. He faltered, but has gathered himself at Triple A. With the right coaching in Toronto, he could turn it around and become a solid #3 or 4 pitcher behind Roy Halladay, Shawn Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Jesse Litsch.

Anderson is a solid hitting left handed bat and isn’t half bad behind the plate. If the Blue Jays pick up Greg Zaun’s option (which they should), Anderson could backup one of the better defensive catchers in the game. Then, become the Blue Jays’ everyday catcher in 2010.

Shane Robinson is a speedy leadoff man with a little pop in his bat. With a full year at Triple A, he could develop into a nice fourth outfielder and maybe a starter down the line depending on what happens with the Adam Lind/Vernon Wells/Alex Rios outfield combination.

Now look at Bergesen. He’s putting up a good line at Double A and could be a nice pitching prospect for the Blue Jays. Not a bad take for giving up three players. Oh yeah, they also receive a contract in Kennedy. He can play 2B for the Blue Jays while Hill tries to get healthy. When Hill returns, he can play shortstop so they have a reason to release David Eckstein.

Now, to the Cardinals. The Cardinals’ bullpen has been imploding lately. They need a closer and a left handed presence in the bullpen. They also need a new starter to take the #4 spot in the rotation. Oh yeah, they need a second baseman who can hit. They get it all here.

First and foremost, the Cardinals need a good, consistent bat off the bench. Scutaro fills that void. He can play anywhere you need him to be. Mix him with Aaron Miles and Brian Barton on the bench, and the Cardinals finally have a formidable bench at their disposable. Since Tony La Russa likes to keep his bench sharp, this becomes even more important.

Second on the list is Sherrill. Sherrill is under the team’s control through 2011. Add in that he’s a closer AND left handed, the Cardinals hit the jackpot. Sure, they had to give up their closer of the future for a 31 year old closer, but it’s worth it if it shores up the bullpen. Plus, with the loss of Jason Isringhausen at the end of the year, the Cardinals will have an established closer in their bullpen for three seasons.

Burnett could fill the void as the #2 man in the Cardinals rotation until Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter return from injury. When they do return, Burnett falls back two slots and doesn’t have the weight of being a #2 man on his shoulders like he did in Toronto. If he does opt-out of his contract at season’s end, so be it. He will bring back two draft picks that could easily make up for the loss of Anderson and Perez.

Roberts is the real key to this trade, believe it or not. He is signed through 2009 for $8 million (not a bad price for the current market) and could be the table setter the Cardinals are missing. Imagine a lineup that has Skip Schumaker and Roberts in front of Albert Pujols. This could turn the Cardinals inconsistent offense around.

Now, on to the losses. The Orioles don’t really lose anything. They lose their closer and second baseman and replace them with a second baseman and a closer, who are younger. Not really a big loss there. They have more gain than loss if anything.

The Blue Jays lose two utility men and a starting pitcher. What do they gain? Four prospects and a second baseman. It’s somewhat uneven for them for the current season, that is lost when you look at it. Looking at the future though, it will help in the long run with Robinson, Parisi, Anderson and Bergesen. Then, with the dumping of Eckstein, they can have a new middle infield for a season. This way, the Blue Jays can bind their time until they find their shortstop of the future.

The Cardinals lose a lot. They not only lose a starting pitching prospect, a closer prospect, a catching prospect, a second base prospect and an outfield prospect, but they also lose three veteran players. They not only traded away the farm, but they traded away a few keys to the Major League success.

*cough* Overlooked now. Sherrill will make you forget about Perez (for three years), while Burnett will make you forget about Parisi and Anderson. Roberts will make you forget about Hoffpauir and Robinson. Scutaro will make you ask, “Who is Adam Kennedy?”

The Cardinals not only look at 2008 with this trade, but they also look to the future. Burnett could be a Cardinal for two more seasons, or could bring in two top draft picks. Sherrill can close for three more seasons before he hits Free Agency. Scutaro makes the bench better for this season and 2008, and Roberts becomes a table setter for the offense for 2008 and 2009.

While the prospects the Cardinals trade away are very good, they can be replaced. The Cardinals are starting to develop middle infielders and could replace Roberts after 2009. Scutaro takes a bench spot that belonged to Kennedy. Both are signed through 2009, so no harm, no foul there.

Parisi and Robinson are two players who play in crowded positions in the Cardinals farm system. The Cardinals have a crop of young outfielders coming up, same with pitching. That makes Parisi and Robinson expandable. Since the Blue Jays could use both an outfielder and a pitcher, this becomes a good trading combo.

Now, if you’re reading this paragraph, I commend you for making it this far. I rambled there for quite some time while I was making my points. I tried to make it short and brief.

Remember what I said at the start: It’s highly unlikely that this trade happens, I’m just throwing this out there to get some reactions.

I hope you enjoyed this trade I concocted. Enjoy and I hope to hear from you!


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