St. Louis Cardinals: Let's Play The Trading Game

By Todd Bennett
Mark Trumbo
Getty Images

One of the hottest debates going on right now among St. Louis Cardinals fan circles is whether or not the team is ready to compete for a championship with its current lineup, or if adjustments need to be made. I am in the latter camp.

This team does not have the speed to make up for the Cardinals’ lack of one-swing game-changers. With a lineup heavily dependent upon doubles, walks, and success with RISP, speed is a necessity — but the team’s two fastest players, CF Peter Bourjos and 2B Kolten Wong, are not getting on enough to make much of a difference.

The Cardinals get bogged down frequently, deploying an arsenal that requires three singles to score a run. And while the power of Matt Adams may materialize, it is doubtful that he can ever be both a power and high-average hitter. Notable as well is the start from the Milwaukee Brewers, resembling their 2011 team, also led by Ryan Braun. This means the Cardinals are chasing a team with heavier artillery and a decent lead in the standings.

So assuming the club makes a trade, who are some top candidates to pursue? First is Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres. A 3B by trade, he has posted previously a 31-homer campaign and would allow 3B Matt Carpenter to move back to 2B, replacing a struggling Wong. More exciting by size of name would be the Toronto Blue Jays‘ Jose Bautista, he of 54-homer season fame. Yet, he is aging and his power is on a downward trend, so the club could not risk much.

Another potential short-term solution would be Cardinal killer Jonny Gomes of the Boston Red Sox, an OF with prodigious right-handed power. It is apparent the Red Sox are aging and are highly unlikely to be contenders to repeat, so it is entirely possible he would be shopped, especially in a free agent walk year.

Finally, I think Arizona Diamondback OF Mark Trumbo is a strong possibility. Still young enough to be a long-term piece, and with 40 home run power, GM Kevin Towers would likely be glad to part with him for a package of high-end talent. While Trumbo is not, nor will likely ever be a high-average hitter, he fits almost to a tee the production profile of former Cardinals player Troy Glaus, a 30-40 home run hitter with about a .250 average most seasons, and would come cheap enough for GM John Mozeliak‘s liking.

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