As the St. Louis Cardinals ready to open a weekend homestand against the Philadelphia Phillies, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale checked in to share some national perspective on what General Manager John Mozeliak might do to help get his team out of their current slump.
“He’ll probably shuffle up the bullpen a little bit,” said Nightengale. “At some point, you’re going to find out what’s wrong with Brett Cecil. You paid $30 million and he’s not been that guy.”
It was noted that Zach Duke is coming along strong in extended Spring Training and will most likely be back the end of July or early August.
“Hate to put the burden on one guy, but if Cecil was doing his job, you’re talking maybe a four or five game difference,” continued Nightengale. “The rotation has been very, very good. The lineup hasn’t. But that starting pitching’s been so good, you haven’t needed great offensive production–those are games you’ve given away.”
Even if Mozeliak would like to make an immediate deal, Nightengale reminds that with so many teams still in a competitive position, there isn’t that need to accept a deal with the Cardinals.
“For the Cardinals offensively, I think the perfect fit is J.D. Martinez but you need the Tigers to fall out of that thing,” said Nightengale. “A good prize-pitching prospect, not their number one pitching prospect but it would certainly take a top-5 pitching prospect.
“The beauty about Martinez, he’s so consistent 25-30 home run guy. He’s a free agent after the year, but by him being here, it’s a better chance of staying once he likes the team and the city. It’s a whole lot easier to sign a free agent once he’s already on your club. But I would think offensively, he would be the ideal fit.”
Likewise, Nightengale doesn’t see much of a trade market for Jhonny Peralta.
“Probably just forced to release him,” he said. “His value is so minimal with that contract. So I think because there’s so much stock, teams will say you know what, we’ll just wait for you to release him and then we’ll just jump on him and grab him as a bench player ourselves or maybe as a potential DH. But I think the Cardinals would have to eat virtually the whole contract, so I think teams will just wait.”
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