(Baseball StL) -- This is the time of year where rumors run rampant. Fans think “could we get (fill in the blank) for this, this, this and that?” so much it’s practically become reality in their minds.
For the St. Louis Cardinals, though, things operate a bit differently. Their actions have consequences. While fans can conjure up a trade sending Oscar Taveras to Neptune in exchange for some ammonia and methane to be named later, the Cards actually have to live without someone it sends away and watch how it affects the future.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the John Mozeliak years as General Manager it’s this: The man values control. I don’t mean control over people by telling them what to do. I mean control over the rights to a player.
It’s never really been Mozeliak’s style to sacrifice six years of a pretty good prospect for three months of someone who slightly increases the chance of winning this season. Baseball’s postseason has proven to be a crapshoot time and time again.
Give yourself a chance to be competitive year in and year out and your chances of popping one in the playoffs once is a far better plan than going all in for one particular season.
That’s why it’s hard to see the Cardinals doing anything substantial before the July 31 trade deadline. There’s really no one out there who A) dramatically alters the look of this team, B) has multiple years left of control at a non-prohibitive price and C) doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to acquire.
Want the Cubs Matt Garza? You would have to give up premium talent (i.e. top prospects with several years of control remaining) for someone who’s a free agent at the end of the year. I’m not even sure the Cards would make that deal if he were Nolan Ryan.
Want Cliff Lee? You’d have to give up even more premium talent while taking on $62.5 million in guaranteed money over the next couple years in addition to his prorated salary for 2013- all for a 34-year old who could break down at any moment.
Want a shortstop? Okay, who? Sorry, the Rockies aren’t trading Troy Tulowitzki. And the Indians are still in the race so moving Asdrubal Cabrera would be tricky. Plus, the guy has a .315 on-base percentage this year and his power is significantly down (seven home runs this season compared to 25 in 2011 and 16 in 2012). There just isn’t a shortstop out there really worth moving assets for at this point.
Sometimes the best move to make is to stand pat. Or make a small ripple in the trade waters. Remember the Edward Mujica move last year? The Cards swapped a former first rounder in Zack Cox for some (at the time) little-known middle reliever. That turned out okay, I think.
Mozeliak has a plan. It’s with an eye towards the future as well as right now. It’s worked to this point so I think he’s built up enough equity to be trusted.