Okay, so at 70 games in and two games over .500, 3 1/2 games out of 1st place in the Central. 2 1/2 games out of the wild. We are a month and a half away from the trade deadline. This year the trade deadline is solid, meaning there will be no Waiver trading allowed after the deadline. So when the clock strikes midnight on July 31st the trade window is closed until after the World Series. So there will be more pressure to get a trade right. There will likely be less "shopping" and more "dealing" So for the Cardinals the question is, will the Cardinals be buyers or sellers?.
Since the beginning of the season There have been questions about the starting rotation.
The health of Adam Wainwright, Micheal Wacha and Carlos Martinez were all in question.
The inexperience of Dakota Hudson and Alex Reyes
Could Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty repeat 2018?
Then what about John Gant, Austin Gomber, Daniel Poncedeleon are they ready for the big show?
And what about Free Agents that were available? Patrick Corbin, Dallas Kuechel, J.A. Happ, Wade Miley, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn or trade rumors about Zack Grienke, Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergard, Chris Archer, Sonny Gray.
Late last year I looked at the rotation and had my own concerns. I thought we had two locks as far as starters were concerned, Mikolas and Flaherty.
Wainwright to me was a 50/50 shot he ended 2018 on what was consider by many good footing. 4 games, 22.2IP, 4.84ERA, 1.164WHIP, 25SO/4BB, .253
Wacha and Martinez were iffy given recover from injury. I would have preferred an experienced Left Hand starter been signed say Corbin or Keuchel. Last year the only Left Handed starter the Cardinals had internally was Gomber.
The rotation that came out of Spring Training was Mikolas, Flaherty, Wainwright, Wacha and Hudson. Not a rotation that looked fearsome by any standard. April was rough on on the rotation especially in giving up the long ball (26HRs) by the starters. Team wise we managed a 20-10 record mostly due to a potent offense and good relief work.
Hudson looked lost in April with an ERA over 5 giving up 8 HRs in 6 games and averaging less than 5 IP to start. Since then he has posted 8 quality starts in his last 9. Given up only 1 HR posting a 2.80ERA in May and so far a 2.33 ERA for the month of June. I think it is a good bet he has arrived.
Mikolas a combination of inconsistency and lack or run support has hurt him. IN 6 of his 14 games he received 0-2 runs in support 0 wins, 5 losses, 1 ND. early on his 1st 6 games he was 2-2, 5.29ERA 1.235WHIP 19SO/8BB but gave up 8 HRs May was the better month for him 6 games 2-3 but a more respectable 3.57ERA, 1.104WHIP 30SO/4BB and only 4 HRs. IN June has not been kind in two starts he has yet to make it past the 5th inning. sporting an ERA of 8.00 and a WHIP 0f 1.667. With Mikolas I think it is just an approach adjustment he needs to make to get back on track.
Wainwright has had a yo-yo start to the season going 3-2 in March/April with a 3.73ERA and giving up 5 HRs to a May of 1-3 with a 6.33ERA and giving up 4 HRs. June started out promising 1-1 2.19ERA and giving up 0 HRs in his last 2 starts before going on the IL. Both of those starts are quality starts. I am still 50/50 on Adam but I hope that he can pick up where he left off in June. get a chance.
Wacha, if there is a Jekyll and Hyde on this team, he is it. After his first 2 games he had an ERA of 1.54 but getting a ND in both games then he gets blown up by LA. Then followed that by giving up 9 hits and 5 runs in his next to games getting wins in both (Mil, Was). In May he was at best average making it past the 5inning in only 1 game. this resulted in him being relinquished to the bullpen for a week or two June 10 against Miami 6 innings of shutout ball as a starter 5 days later the Mets light him up for 6 runs in the 1st 2 innings (only 5 ER). I am not sure if Wacha can stabilize his season enough at this point to stay in the Rotation
Flaherty, The first 2 months were pretty stable compiling an ERA of under 4 with a 4 and 3 record. June so far has not been his friend. I think however he will pitch his way out of it.
So I think the weak spot as I see it, is Wacha. He is just too inconsistent to be reliable as a starter at this point.
So IF the Cardinals are buying, who is selling?
Teams like; Tigers, Giants, Blue Jays all 15+ games behind with no real prospect of getting better. They will be looking to unload contracts for prospects or controllable players.
San Fransisco Giants.
Madison Bumgarner 29 LH 16 games, 96.2IP 3 - 7 4.28ERA, 1.241WHIP 93SO/21BB, .267OBA Free Agent 2020
Jeff Samardzija 34 RH 14 games 72.2IP, 3 - 6, 3.96ERA, 1.28WHIP, 61SO/23BB, .246OBA. Free Agent 2021
It is no secret the Giants need OFs. Particularly those with some pop in the bat. They could be very interested in Tyler O'Neill Add a pitching prospect. and you could have a deal. It is also rumored they are shopping Brandon Belt (1B) so a guy like Ravelo could be in play as well. However with Bumgarner he has a NO trade clause and in a list of teams he provided for that no trade the Cardinals are on that list. HOWEVER as was pointed out by Thomas Harrigan in a May 14th article for MLB.com. who cited a buster Olney article that said Bumgarner's list includes a number of top contenders it could be a leverage move to get a "exit payout" to waive his NTC
Two names here could be;
Spencer Turnbull 26 RH 15 games 82.2IP, 3 - 6, 3.27ERA, 1.33WHIP, 77SO/31BB, .248OBA, Arb eligible 2022 Free Agent 2025
Mathew Boyd 28 LH, 88.2IP, 3.35ERA, 1.08WHIP, 112SO/17BB, .232OBA Arb eligible 2020 Free Agent 2023
The Tigers need help at MI and OF. Like the Giants they could also use some pop in the order as well. So Munoz, Sosa, Shrock, Edman, Ravelo as a DH and of course Garcia, Arozarena, and O'Neill would probably all be on the Tigers shopping list.
Toronto Blue Jays
Marcus Stroman 28 RH 16 games,84.2IP 4 - 9, 3.23ERA, 1.27WHIP, 71SO/29BB, Free Agent in 2021. Toronto could use help in the OF and even 1B. So Ravelo, OF prospects like Garcia, O'Neill even bullpen help like Helsley or Reyes could be in play.
New York Mets.
The Mets do not fit in right now are only 8 games back but seem to be falling fast and could be sellers at the deadline.
They have good starting pitching but the bullpen is a mess. The 3 names that teams will inquire about are: Jacob DeGrom 31 RH 15 games 4 - 6, 3.26ERA, 91IP, 112SO/20BB, 1.08WHIP, .227 OBA Free Agent in 2024
Noah Syndergard 26 RH 15 games 5 - 4, 4.55ERA, 95IP, 93SO/24BB, 1.211WHIP .304 OBA Arb eligible Free Agent 2022
Zack Wheeler 29 RH, 15 games 5 - 5 4.94ERA, 94.2IP, 103SO/28BB, 1.331WHIP, .311OBA Free Agent 2020
As I say they will want relief help. CMart, Reyes, Helsley, Gallegos would be where I believe they would start. Then they would add a SP prospect and possibly an OF prospect depending who we would target.
Personally I would like to see a LH so for me Mathew Boyd is my first target as he would not require resigning at the end of the year. Fans talk about Sherzer not sure he is or will be available. If he is in play it would cost at least Gant with possibly Woodford and one of our young 3B. At 34 how many years does he have left and would he be worth the price.
Whichever way they go I do believe it is the Rotation that could use infusion by trade.
Thanks for reading, comment here if you wish or hit me on twitter @bortas2002
I will look at the offense next time.