(Busch Stadium) Buy or sell? Even with losing six of their first ten games after the All-Star break, the St. Louis Cardinals still find themselves within reach of the top of the National League Central. And that doesn’t make any potential trade decisions easier to make in this next week before the July 31st deadline.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s an opportunity to explore lots of different options and see what makes sense,” said St. Louis Cardinals General Manager Michael Girsch. “There are a lot of teams who are in a situation not dissimilar from us where they are either far enough away a playoff spot that they’re not sure how much they want to invest in this year or they are so far ahead and so assured of a playoff spot that they don’t necessarily need to invest this year and there’s a lot of people still feeling their way through how they want to approach this.”
Now a couple of days removed from President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak suggesting that maybe a culture change or shake up was required in the clubhouse, Girsch offered somewhat of a qualification to the approach.
“Sometimes the best way to shake up the culture is by going on a winning streak,” he said. “Sometimes it’s by making changes. We are not in the business of making changes just to–making what we think are bad baseball trades, in order to sort of conjure up some kind of point or make some kind of shake up just to say we made a shake up. At the same time, if there’s a trade that makes sense that can shake things up, maybe that’s what we need.”
Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl around Lance Lynn.
The new CBA has changed the draft pick compensation teams would have to give up or receive on a qualified free agent such as Lynn would likely be, but Girsch says that hasn’t had a negative effect on discussions.
“Everyone’s outbidding the free agent compensation,” he explained. “If you’re not outbidding the free agent compensation, no trade would happen. For the most part, you’re bidding against other teams who are all out-bidding the free agent compensation.
“And frankly, if no one’s bidding more than free agent compensation, then you probably don’t want to tender that guy a qualifying offer because it’s a hint that the market doesn’t think he’s worth as much as that. I think there’s the rare player where the intersection of the market and the bidding and the free agent compensation sort of all meet. For the most part, the guys who are going to get tendered are getting way more than that anyway.”
The Cardinals have already made one move, sending left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Tyler O’Neill. With the depth at outfield the Cardinals already have in their organization, the trade would suggest another move is on the way.
“We had a log jam in our starting pitching, which made Marco available and now we’ve sort of have a log jam in the outfield,” agreed Girsch. “But we felt like the upside of Tyler, the potential in his bat, the fact that Marco was going to run of options for next year and it wasn’t clear that we were going to have a starting role for him.”
Besides the rotation, the Cardinals could see some change in their bullpen.
“There is the possibility of us adding or subtracting from our bullpen depending on what the market looks like,” said Girsch. “In general, that market seems to be one that waits til the last minute because it’s the sort of thing where, other than the Aroldis Chapmans and the Andrew Millers of the world, most of the relief pitchers are sort of last minute additions or adjustments to rosters. So it’s not that people are out pounding the table trying to find their second lefty or their fourth righty in the bullpen or whatever, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
Scouts from the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals were among those in attendance for tonight’s game.
photo credit: Scott Kane, Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports,