(Baseball StL) --The major league trade deadline of July 31 is fast approaching. If the rumors floating around the internet are true, the Cardinals are actively seeking a fifth starter for the rotation. Maybe Jake Peavy? Bud Norris? The Cardinals need is not drastic.
They still have Michael Wacha ready to go at AAA Memphis. Tyler Lyons showed promise in his six starts earlier in the season. Carlos Martinez is being groomed as a starter as well. General Manager John Mozeliak is understandably mum when discussing what the Cardinals might do at the deadline, but it seems likely he’ll do something. The Cardinals are a legitimate World Series contender, and one more quality starter could be the difference in winning a 12th world’s championship or making an early exit in the postseason.
The Cardinals have made some of their best trades near the deadline. In recent years they’ve acquired All Star caliber players in July. On July 5, 2006 they acquired Jeff Weaver from the Angels for minor leaguer Terry Evans. Weaver didn’t do much in the regular season, but was a major factor in the playoff run that ended with a World Series win over the Tigers.
On July 31, 1997 the Cardinals pulled off a major steal when they acquired Mark McGwire from the cash-strapped Oakland A’s for Eric Ludwick, TJ Mathews and Blake Stein. That worked out pretty well. McGwire’s presence didn’t lead to a championship, but he did pack Busch Stadium with fans for the five seasons he was here.
On July 29, 2002 the Cardinals made a deal with Philadelphia that paid huge dividends. They sent Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin and Bud Smith to the Phillies in exchange for Scott Rolen and Doug Nickle. Never mind about Nickle. Rolen gave the Cardinals six stellar seasons of gold glove play at third base, and helped the team win the 2006 championship.
Matt Holliday was also a trade deadline pick-up. On July 24, 2009 the Cardinals acquired Holliday from Oakland for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson. Holliday has been a three time All Star with the Cardinals and played a key role in the 2011 championship run.
The Cardinals are in such good shape right now that it’s unlikely a trade deadline deal this year will involve superstar talent. They simply don’t need to risk parting with a prized prospect to add a fifth starter. But ownership has proven in the past a willingness to take on a big salary for a big name, if they think that player could be the missing piece to a championship puzzle.