• Trade Target Team Profile: St. Louis Cardinals

    The Big Picture
    The defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals are currently 47-45, 4.5 games behind both the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are also 4.5 games behind those two teams in the Wild Card race, but just three games back of the Atlanta Braves and 1.5 games behind the Dodgers for the second Wild Card. The team traditionally is not afraid to make a splash at the trade deadline. Last year, it was a deadline deal that is often credited for propelling the team to the playoffs late in the season. They wonít be afraid to pull the trigger on another deal this July.

    Carlos Beltran is playing like an MVP. Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman continue to rake. David Freese became a household name in the playoffs last year and has broken out for real this season. This is a good, deep team that frankly, should not be outside of the current playoff picture looking in.

    Why They Will Trade With the Twins
    The Cardinals are blessed with one of baseballís best offenses. Their pitching is pretty middle-of-the-pack, and their bullpen could use some proven, quality arms. The Red Birds are 12th in baseball with a 3.89 ERA, 15th in WHIP at 1.31, and 22nd in opponent batting average, at .260. Their starters have generally been just find, providing the team with 55 Quality Starts, which ranks sixth in the game.

    Adam Wainright (7-10, 4.42, 1.29), Kyle Lohse (9-2, 2.80, 1.10), Lance Lynn (11-4, 3.27, 1.21), and Jake Westbrook (7-8, 3.82, 1.33) make up four-fifths of the starting rotation. Jaime Garcia is most likely out until at least mid-August. He had an elbow injury in May and is now out with a shoulder injury. Just last week, ace Chris Carpenter had shoulder surgery and is out for the year. Joe Kelly has stepped in and is 1-2 with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP, but I am certain that the Cardinals would be on the lookout for an impact starter. In fact, they are rumored to be kicking the tires on Mariners LHP Jason Vargas.

    Considering that several of the other big name pitchers who are likely on the trade block are from the NL Central (Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Cubs, and Zach Greinke and Shawn Marcum of the Brewers), it certainly helps make a case for the Cardinals and Twins having some in-depth conversations surrounding lefty Francisco Liriano. Liriano has been pitching as well as anyone in baseball of late. He could also balance out their rotation a little bit by giving them a left-handed starting pitcher.

    The Cardinals bullpen after Jason Motte and righty Mitchell Boggs is kind of a mess. If the Twins are willing to deal the likes of Glen Perkins or Jared Burton, they could get back quite a haul at this time. That said, someone like Casey Fien, who has come up recently as a minor league veteran and pitched very well and shown a lot of life on his pitches, might be someone of interest in a much more minor deal.

    Why They Won't Trade With the Twins
    Tom Brunansky for Tommy Herr.

    OK, that deal was horrible, but it was made 24 years ago, so I think we should be able to move past it by now.

    The Cardinals offense is very strong. They rank 2nd in MLB in batting average (.274), 2nd in on-base percentage (.340), 7th in slugging percentage (.478) and 5th in runs scored. With Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran playing the corner outfield spots, and John Joy posting an OBP around .360, they are one team that doesnít need to go after an outfielder. The only players among their regulars that are currently posting sub-.700 OPS are 2B Daniel Descalso and All Star SS Rafael Furcal (.699). Frankly, the Twins donít have a better option for them at that position.

    Conclusion
    The Cardinals are used to being in the playoffs and the teams they are chasing may not have better teams on paper. This team may just need to infuse one piece to go on a run. They may also see the Joey Votto injury and think that now is the time to go for it. They will never say it, but Iím sure that Mike Matheny and his ball players would love to get back to the playoffs and show that they can do it without manager Tony LaRussa or all-time great Albert Pujols.

    ~~~

    Possible Trade Targets


    Shelby Miller - RHP
    The assumption would be (and probably still should be) that Miller is not available in pretty much any trade. The 21-year-old right-hander has a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s with good movement. He also throws a curveball and a changeup. He entered the season as Baseball Americaís #8 prospect in baseball. He is now pitching in AAA (in the Pacific Coast League). For the first time, he is struggling. He is 4-8 with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. Heís given up 91 hits and walked 46 in 82.1 innings. However, he has still struck out 94 batters.

    Carlos Martinez - RHP
    Martinez is on the upward moving track. He is a right-hander with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and frequently hits 100 on the gun. His curveball and his changeup are works-in-progress and their development will determine whether he is a high-end starter or a high-leverage late-inning reliever. He began the year at Hi-A where he made seven starts, and now he is at AA where he is 2-2 after six starts.

    Tyrell Jenkins - RHP
    Jenkins was the 50th overall pick in the 2010 draft out of high school. He throws in the low 90s and touches 95-96 mph despite being just 20 and very skinny. In other words, there is room for growth and velocity. He throws a breaking ball and he is working on a changeup. At Quad Cities this year, he is 2-3 with a 5.12 ERA in 13 starts. He has 54 strikeouts (and 28 walks) in 58 innings.

    (Note Ė These top three prospects would not have been in the discussion had Francisco Liriano not been so incredible over the past two-and-a-half months. Now, I think itís fair to at least start negotiations with some of these names. Jenkinsí name has been rumored in the Jason Vargas talks, so excuse me for being hopeful! At least I didnít bring up 20 year old OF Oscar Taveras who hit .386 in the MWL last year and jumped to AA this year where heís posting a .971 OPS.)

    Trevor Rosenthal - RHP

    Rosenthal was a 21st round pick of the Cardinals in 2009 out of a small community college in Kansas. He throws 90-95 with a lot of sink and a strong slider. A changeup will be big for him as a change-of-pace pitch. At AA this year, he is 8-6 with a 2.78 ERA in 17 games. He is striking out 7.9 per nine innings. Last year in Low-A, he struck out 9.9 per nine.

    Kolten Wong Ė 2B
    The Twins drafted Wong in the mid-rounds out of high school, but he chose to go to the University of Hawaii. It panned out for him as, well, 1.) he got to hang out in Hawaii for 3 years playing baseball, and 2.) he played well enough that he jumped into the middle of the first round last year. The 21-year-old is currently hitting .298/.372/.419 (.791) in 84 games at AA.

    Please add your thoughts and trade ideas (and other names the Twins could pursue) in the comments below!

    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Target Team Profile: St. Louis Cardinals started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      "...he got to hang out in Hawaii for 3 years playing baseball..."

      The Twins should target this kid just for his luck.

      He's one lucky SOB.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I would have liked the prospect of the Cardinals going after Liriano a lot more if Dave Duncan was still the pitching coach. Pitchers like Liriano, who had good stuff but previously were very inconsistant did very well under Duncan. If he was still the pitching coach, the Cardinals would probably not be as concerned with Liriano's inconsistancies.
    1. ScottyBroco's Avatar
      ScottyBroco -
      No way are the cardinals going to deal one of their starters with the twins. But they wouldn't mind taking franchise off the twins hands. Why ? Two words Kyle Lohse
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Scottrcummings View Post
      No way are the cardinals going to deal one of their starters with the twins. But they wouldn't mind taking franchise off the twins hands. Why ? Two words Kyle Lohse
      I love it how people think Lohse has turned into Cy Young since he left the Twins. His best season (excluding this one) was an ERA+ of 112. He posted an ERA+ of 106 and 107 with the Twins. He's been an up-and-down pitcher his entire career, only his "ups" aren't terribly high before the career year he's posting this season.

      He had half a decade with Dave Duncan and had two of his worst seasons during that period. Why does everyone think the Twins failed him for some reason? His ERA+ with the Twins is pretty much the same as his ERA+ away from the Twins.

      I don't get it.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      I love it how people think Lohse has turned into Cy Young since he left the Twins. His best season (excluding this one) was an ERA+ of 112. He posted an ERA+ of 106 and 107 with the Twins. He's been an up-and-down pitcher his entire career, only his "ups" aren't terribly high before the career year he's posting this season.

      He had half a decade with Dave Duncan and had two of his worst seasons during that period. Why does everyone think the Twins failed him for some reason? His ERA+ with the Twins is pretty much the same as his ERA+ away from the Twins.

      I don't get it.
      The same reason they like pretending that Delmon Young became awesome when he left and that Matt Garza was much better the second he got away from the Twins and on and on and on. Some people have such a negative slant to their viewpoint that they literally invent things (or are swayed by other people's inventions because they actually want them to be true) that are negative. Which is especially puzzling when there are enough ACTUAL things to complain and be frustrated about without having to make them up. I've tried to stop (slow down?) pointing out these inventions, but in this case it felt better to be able to do it while actually agreeing with someone else doing it first. Or something.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      who said that Delmon became awesome when he left?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      who said that Delmon became awesome when he left?
      A lot of people, pretty much any time he would hit a home run the rest of the year and in the playoffs.
    1. grover738's Avatar
      grover738 -
      I do not understand how players can be in someone's system for 2+ years and still be described as "skinny". It is not hard to put on weight, muscle or fat. I'm making an assumption that Jenkins would be better with some more weight, which may not be true. But IF the Cards believe that some more mass would be beneficial, how does he not have it on him? Especially a pitcher - they have 4 days off between starts. Eat a lot and lift heavy objects, you will get bigger, especially at that age when you're full of testosterone. I understand that arm flexibility is important so you don't see to many strongman type upper body builds, but at least lower body? Get that kid into a squat rack!
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      The same reason they like pretending that Delmon Young became awesome when he left and that Matt Garza was much better the second he got away from the Twins and on and on and on. Some people have such a negative slant to their viewpoint that they literally invent things (or are swayed by other people's inventions because they actually want them to be true) that are negative. Which is especially puzzling when there are enough ACTUAL things to complain and be frustrated about without having to make them up. I've tried to stop (slow down?) pointing out these inventions, but in this case it felt better to be able to do it while actually agreeing with someone else doing it first. Or something.
      I find it particularly troubling with the pitchers. People make grandiose claims about how Anderson is an awful pitching coach when that simply isn't the case. I don't think he's a great pitching coach but he certainly doesn't do a bad job. There are dozens of pitchers that have left the Twins since he was their pitching coach and RA Dickey is the only guy who really thrived away from Anderson. RA Dickey is also an aberration who magically figured out the knuckleball in his mid-30s after several teams gave up on him.

      Other than that, the "got away from the Twins and thrived" concept doesn't really play in reality. Let's take a look:

      Lohse is the same pitcher. We established that.

      Humber only pitched 20 innings in Minnesota.

      Eric Milton crashed and burned after leaving the Twins.

      Juan Rincon didn't fare much better.

      Matt Guerrier fell on his face but we all saw that coming a mile away.

      JC Romero has had good seasons away from the Twins but he also had some good seasons in Minnesota, certainly not enough of a difference to fault Anderson for screwing up.

      Jesse Crain is dominating hitters just like he dominated hitters in his last season with the Twins so that's another awful example commonly used to discount Anderson's coaching abilities.

      Grant Balfour was a good pitcher with the Twins and I was disappointed that they got rid of him too quickly. Again, not Anderson's fault.

      LaTroy Hawkins has bounced around and turned into a journeyman, never again matching his seasons with Minnesota.

      Carlos Silva became one of the worst pitchers in baseball after leaving (again, saw that one coming).

      Pat Neshek was out of baseball not long after leaving the team.

      Dennys Reyes had what were far and away the best years of his career with Minnesota.

      Boof Bonser was awful in his last two seasons with the Twins and was even more awful away from Minnesota.

      WAIT! I FOUND ONE!

      Luis Ayala, a career journeyman, has had a couple of really impressive seasons post-Minnesota.

      Rick Anderson, failure as a pitching coach, confirmed.
    1. bulldogguy's Avatar
      bulldogguy -
      Agreed completely RocketPig...everyone needs a scapegoat...whether it is Anderson, Punto...you name it.

      No one is perfect, including Anderson, but he seems to have a lot more success under his belt getting what appears to be marginal pitching talent and getting them to achieve at usually an average level. The last two years have been a disaster, but can people really, really take that and blame Anderson??? Seriously???
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      The same reason they like pretending that Delmon Young became awesome when he left and that Matt Garza was much better the second he got away from the Twins and on and on and on. Some people have such a negative slant to their viewpoint that they literally invent things (or are swayed by other people's inventions because they actually want them to be true) that are negative. Which is especially puzzling when there are enough ACTUAL things to complain and be frustrated about without having to make them up. I've tried to stop (slow down?) pointing out these inventions, but in this case it felt better to be able to do it while actually agreeing with someone else doing it first. Or something.
      we just hate anderson ")
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