(Baseball StL) -- As Cards GM John Mozeliak predicted, the Redbirds did not make any substantial moves prior to the trade deadline.
Depending on your point of view, that’s either ridiculously shortsighted or evidence of admirable restraint.
Here are the arguments both ways:
• We needed a hitter. The Cardinals are averaging 2 runs a game during this devastating losing streak that has seen them fall out of first place. Yadier Molina and now Shane Robinson are on the DL and without Yadi, the Cards have lost a big bat, an RBI rainmaker and clutch hitter. Without Robinson, they may be forced to play John Jay against lefties, a situation in which he isn’t hitting his weight. Beltran has vanished and Freese can’t get out of his own way.
• We needed a pitcher. The Cards already have two pitchers on the DL for the season. Jake Westbrook couldn’t even get the batboy out on the road. Lance Lynn is showing signs of losing command. Shelby Miller looks good some days and not so good on others and even Adam Wainwright suddenly looks hittable.
• We can’t assume we will ever be in this position again and should do whatever we need to do to put this team in a position to win it all. The Washington Nationals thought their spot in the play-offs was assured for the foreseeable future and shut down Steven Strasburg when their club was playing World Series baseball. They didn’t make the Series then and won’t even make the play-offs this year. There are no guarantees in baseball. Win now.
• We have a lot of prospects that we may not be able to bring up because of the talent already on our major league roster. Let’s move a few of them and give this team the talent it needs to win.
• Psychologically, we hurt our team by not improving it. Other teams got better. We didn’t. What message are we sending to our club?
OK, all good arguments. Here’s the case for admirable restraint.
• There wasn’t season-changing talent available, with the exception, perhaps, of Jake Peavy. Shuffling around pieces that in the end produces no net gain is foolish. A GM shouldn’t tinker and destroy the team’s chemistry.
• OK, Peavy would have helped. Let’s look at that equation. With two months left in the season, if he takes the ball every fifth day, he gets about 10-11 starts. Let’s say he reproduces his current record and goes 8-3. He takes Joe Kelly’s spot. Over the same 11 games, let’s say Kelly goes 5-6. What are you willing to give up to get 3 more wins? Not as much as the White Sox wanted. In two years, Peavy will be gone and so will the young talent we gave away to get him.
• Yes, we have a lot of young talent. Trading any of it jeopardizes our ability to be competitive going forward. We are not the Pittsburgh Pirates who haven’t won a thing since Disco or the Chicago Cubs who haven’t won since man walked upright. And we don’t want to be the New York Yankees who has a roster full of geriatric veterans who are perpetually on the DL. Young talent gives us consistent excellence and a chance to compete every year. It also gives us salary flexibility to sign new talent and extend contracts for our best players. Were this a team of 35-year-olds, an all-or-nothing trade might have made sense.
• We aren’t playing well right now, but this is a solid team with great resiliency that is still solidly in the play-offs. Improvement at a reasonable price is always an option, but to add something, we must subtract something else. Which piece don’t we need that we could have moved to another team? Remember, trades are a two-way street.
There’s your arguments. Choose sides.