By John Shea @real_johnshea on June 29, 2014
The St. Louis Cardinals have placed themselves into position to make a serious run at their third World Series appearance in a span of four seasons. The Cardinals' up and down season has been highlighted by several crucial injuries to their vaunted starting rotation, pushing them 6.5 games behind the National League-leading Milwaukee Brewers. St. Louis must acquire front-line pitching talent in order to overtake their division rival in 2014.
The mediocre Boston Red Sox recently optioned Rubby De La Rosa to Triple-A Pawtucket to clear a roster spot for highly-touted prospect Mookie Betts. While Boston would prefer to hang onto De La Rosa, they're desperate for help on offense. The 25-year-old right-hander wouldn't be outrageously expensive, and could help solidify the Cardinals' fluctuating rotation. De La Rosa owns a 2-2 record with a 2.51 ERA in five starts this season.
Outfield isn't a position of primary need for the Cardinals in trade talks this summer, but GM John Mozeliak assuredly wants to add as much depth as possible to the current 25-man roster. The Astros have improved, but aren't contenders in 2014. If the Cardinals are willing to eat the remaining sum of Fowlers' .35 million contract, he could be a bargain from a personnel standpoint. Fowler owns a .774 OPS with 21 extra-base hits this season.
After firing GM Josh Byrnes, the Padres are bona fide sellers in 2014. The Padres' plethora of starting pitchers can be had in parting with top-tier positional talent. Ross is no exception. The 27-year-old California native is having a solid season, despite boasting a 6-8 record. He's posted a 3.18 ERA in 107.2 innings over 17 starts this season. Ross wouldn't be as expensive as Jeff Samrdzija or David Price, and would serve as a reliable No. 3.
Even though the Phillies (36-45) aren't out of the picture in the NL East, they're likely to become sellers in July. Utley is their most prized trade chip at the moment. The 35-year-old rent-a-player won't come cheap, but could be a potential difference-maker for the Cardinals' 24th ranked offense. St. Louis has gotten zero production from its second basemen in 2014. Mark Ellis (.192) and Daniel Descalso (.194) simply haven't gotten the job done.
There are few teams in the big leagues that have the resources needed to acquire David Price; the Cardinals are one of them. Trading prized outfielder Oscar Taveras and up-and-coming starting pitcher Carlos Martinez wouldn't necessarily be a popular move among die-hard Cardinal fans, but it's a must if St. Louis is going to overtake the Brewers in the NL Central. Price has received little run support in 2014, posting a 6-7 record with a 3.63 ERA.
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