(BaseballStL) -- Trading away precious starting pitching isn’t exactly something the Cardinals wanted to do this offseason. No, wait. Scratch that. Trading away talented and YOUNG starting pitching is something the Cards NEVER want to do.
It’s not their modus operandi. It’s not how they do business. It’s not part of the model. And that’s why this franchise is arguably the best run in Major League Baseball.
But with the tragic and unexpected death of Oscar Taveras GM John Mozeliak didn’t really have a choice did he? There was a black hole in right field that had to be filled. And dealing from their starting pitching depth was the only way to do that.
So, bye bye Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.
But don’t fret. It’s actually quite comical how good the Cards system looks even AFTER this deal is made. It’s an embarrassment of riches actually. How can one team trade two top young starting pitchers and still be in great shape?
Well, I suppose that happens when you have Carlos Martinez and Marco Gonzales waiting in the wings. I suppose that happens when you have top draft picks Rob Kaminsky, Jack Flaherty and Luke Weaver in the minors. I suppose that happens when you have Tim Cooney – who would be in the majors on just about any other team – still waiting for his turn in AAA.
Trading Shelby Miller is a risk, for sure. But the risk is whether or not he’ll end up becoming a better starting pitcher than who will replace him long term. If Miller ends up staying the same as he’s been (mid-3 ERA) and Gonzales/Martinez/whomever is better then that’s a win for the Cards.
Control over players is good. But it’s only as good as his performance relative to the person he’s blocking during those control years. So, if Miller was still in St. Louis and that kept – say – Carlos Martinez from becoming a starter then Miller’s value is only as high as what he does compared to what Martinez would do.
And despite the fact Carlos Martinez has a career 4.28 ERA in 117.2 regular season innings he still has just as much upside as Miller if not more. One of the best things I’ve ever heard about prospects is “the more they play the less prospect they look”.
That means when a talented youngster is just 18 years old his organization is dreaming on how good he can become. But as this guy gets older there’s less projection and more knowing he is who he is. I’m not saying Shelby Miller is who he’s going to be long term.
But he’s had two full regular seasons as a starter. Martinez has had none. Miller is much closer to being who he’s going to be than Martinez is.
Same goes for Marco Gonzales and everyone else. That’s why I don’t look at it like it’s a huge deal that the Cardinals dealt Miller to Atlanta. His upside isn’t what it once was and it’s not what the others I’ve mentioned are either.
Miller was originally viewed as a top of the rotation type of starter. It’s looking like – barring a major revelation – he won’t be that. There’s still hope Martinez, Gonzales, Kaminsky and even Flaherty can reach ace status.
Trading away someone the Cardinals once touted as a part of their future is never easy. But considering who they still have in the system ready to take his place it softens the blow exponentially.