Should the Cards part with elite prospects? -

Should the Cards part with elite prospects?

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By Brendan Marks By Brendan Marks

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (BaseballStL) -- Every year it's the same question.  This year is really no different, despite losing staff ace Chris Carpenter for the season.

How much should the St. Louis Cardinals give up to fix what hurts them...therefore giving them the optimal chance to make a run in 2012?  Should they dangle Shelby Miller?  How about Carlos Martinez or Tyrell Jenkins?  Oscar Taveras?  Kolten Wong?

You've got to give up something to get something.  So if Redbirds' fans want an elite talent to come in and stabilize the rotation and/or bullpen to give this team a chance at a repeat in 2012 you're going to have to stomach losing a potential star of the future.

And that's where the decisions begin.  How do you know who's going to become a star and who just looks like a star but really won't do much of anything?  Evaluating prospects is like evaluating the stock market. 

Buy low if the stock is going to skyrocket.  Sell high if you believe it's going to plummet. 

Take Brett Wallace for instance.  GM John Mozeliak hit the jackpot on that one.  Wallace was a top flight power hitter in the minors (with the Cards anyway) and many believed, myself included, that he had the potential to be a middle of the order power bat.  The Cards elected to trade him for Matt Holliday...and Wallace never turned out to do anything.  Cardinals 1, Athletics 0.

On the flip side, the Cardinals traded then-prospect Dan Haren in a package for Mark Mulder after the 2004 season.  Mulder never had the impact the Redbirds needed while Haren turned into a superstar.  Cardinals 1, Athletics 1. 

This is the decision the Cardinals need to make right now on the likes of Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Oscar Taveras, etc.  Their stocks won't get any higher than they are right now. 

The Cards need pitching right now.  No doubt about that.  But do you give up these high end guys to make that happen?  If you do and they turn into impact better make it work this season.  If you do and they turn out to be big deal. 

No one said it was easy.  But, then again, that's why these front office executives are paid a lot of money.  To make those decisions and be right the majority of the time.

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