With the trade deadline now approaching, the Cardinals are surely looking to make some moves at the deadline. I am approaching this topic with a sort of hesitancy—I hope that the front office holds on to most of its prospects, as I dread the idea of giving up a future superstar for a two month rental. But I feel like the Cardinals need to make a move or two in order to hold off the Brewers and Reds, so I’ve been trying to come up with possible low-cost alternatives.
I think I may have come up with the best solution. While reading MLB Trade Rumors, I saw a piece on the NL West. It claims the Dodgers haven’t decided whether to be buyers or sellers at the deadline. I can’t believe that aren’t firmly in the sellers position yet, given that they’re 10 games below .500 and 11 games back. Plus with their financial situation, cutting payroll would probably be in their best interests.
If they do decide to sell, though, they may have just the piece the Cardinals need. Hiroki Kuroda could be just the person to shore up the Cardinals’ most pressing problems. The pitching, outside of Jaime Garcia, has not been great. Kyle Lohse and Chris Carpenter have done well enough to hang on to their spots in the rotation.
But Jake Westbrook has had some issues, with a 5.34 ERA (although some of that has been bad luck), and Kyle McClellan hasn’t been so hot either, with a 4.24 ERA (and that has included some good luck). Trading for a starter would let them move one of them (preferable McClellan) to the bullpen, which should help that too.
Now, why Kuroda? At first glance, a 36-year old with a 6-10 record doesn’t seem to be the perfect solution. Well, first, he’s a free agent after this year, meaning he would truly just be a rental, and the Cardinals wouldn’t have to worry about locking him up long term. The saved money could go to more obvious impending needs over the offseason (i.e. re-signing Albert). Also, with the Dodgers' financial issues, the Cardinals may be able to trade some salary relief in lieu of better prospects (although I’m not sure how much of Kuroda’s $12 million salary for the year is left).
Furthermore, his 6-10 record is more an indication of his team’s offensive struggles than his own. Kuroda has a 3.06 ERA, which translates to a 116 ERA+ according to Baseball Reference (meaning he’s been 16 percent better than league average). Adding him to the rotation would instantly improve the Cardinals for the stretch run.
Hiroki Kuroda might be the perfect low-cost stretch run fill-in for St. Louis right now.
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