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  • Trade Talk: St. Louis Cardinals

    Buyers or Sellers
    They’re buyers. The Cardinals are one of three teams in the NL Central, along with the Pirates and Reds, who have the three best records in the National League. Each seems assured of a playoff spot.

    However, only one of them is assured of a playoff series, and that’s the division winner. The other two will be subjected to the wild card playoff game, which could result in a quick ending to a promising season. So the Cardinals have plenty of incentive to figure out a way to separate themselves from that pack.

    What They Need
    Almost all of the Cardinals rumors indicate they're looking for starting pitching or bullpen help. It’s not totally clear why – their team ERA is 3.33, which is good for 3rd overall in MLB. And starting pitcher (and former Cy Young award winner) Chris Carpenter is supposed to be back at the end of the month. That might be the starting pitching they need to acquire.

    They could be interested in a left-handed reliever. They have 37-year-old Randy Choate, but he’s almost the penultimate LOOGY (Lefty One Out Guy). In fact, he just set a record for the most consecutive appearances without pitching a full inning. It’s conceivable the Cardinals might want someone with a little more flexibility. They seem set at closer with Edward Mujica doing the job now and Trevor Rosenthal waiting in the wings if Mujica leaves as a free agent this offseason.

    Finally, the Cardinals have had some problems at third base, but 30-year-old David Freese seems to have recovered from a sore thumb and is back to hitting. He’s still only at a .273 BA and a 736 OPS, but he’s trending in the right direction. Jon Jay in center field has cooled quite a bit, but the Twins don’t have a right-handed center fielder to offer in a platoon, other than Hicks.

    What Might Work
    General Manager John Mozeliak says he’s not going to trade away any top prospects like outfielder Oscar Taveras or pitcher Michael Wacha and really, why would he? His team doesn’t have a glaring weakness. The best bet is something strategic, like Brian Duensing for a lower level prospect.

    Sleeper Targets
    The good news is that in Keith Law’s most recent farm system rankings, the Cardinals were #1 overall – the only organization above the Twins. But there are also some non-prospects that are interesting.

    Seth Maness –RHP – MLB – 24 years old
    Maness wasn’t a top 10 prospect, but was always recognized for his impeccable control; he walked 9 and struck out 83 last year in AA over 123.2 innings. He started this year in their AAA rotation but has been working out of their bullpen since. He won’t blow anyone away – 13K and 4BB in 27.7 IP, but has a career ERA in the minors of 2.80. He could be a solid back of the rotation innings eater.

    Tyrell Jenkins – RHP – High A – 20 years old
    If you’re more a fan of future potential and willing to accept some risk, Jenkins might be more your speed. The former football player has a 93-96 mph fastball but hasn’t shown he knows how to control it or how to develop an offspeed pitch. He’s a project, but a project with upside.

    Pete Kozma/Daniel Descalso – SS – MLB – 25/26 years old
    I’ll take whichever one they’re tired of. Kozma surprised late last year, but is hitting just .236 this year. Descalso may be stealing his job, but he’s just a year removed from hitting .227. Kozma will be a great defender, Descalso a great utility player. Neither will hit much, but I’ll take a flyer on either.

    Dream Target

    Matt Adams – 1B – MLB –24 years old
    If the Cardinals can’t find room for him at first base, the Twins sure can. Adams is blocked by Allen Craig, who is having a heck of a year - .324/.370/.491. But Adams has put up a 30+ home run year just two years ago in the minors, blistered AAA last year and is hitting .319 with a 953 OPS this year. I don’t know just what the Twins would need to do to pry him away, but he’d be a great addition, even if he does bat left-handed.
    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Talk: The St. Louis Cardinals started by John Bonnes
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      I appreciate reading the reports and reading about some sleeper names in other organizations.

      My apologies ahead. It isn't my intention to devalue your work with a thought that occurred as I read the current trade article.

      The Twins don't fit well with many teams. I wonder if writing from the perspective of the Twins assets might also be worthwhile.

      For example, writing from the perspective of Justin Morneau. Headings might include. Why trade him? Why keep him? Which teams might fit? What trades for the last 2 or 3 years might be comps to Justin (to set an expected level of return)? How will the Twins fill the hole when he leaves?

      Players might include Morneau, Perkins, Plouffe, Doumit, Carroll, Willingham, Duensing, Burton, Correia and Pelfrey.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I cannot help but wonder if you are saving the best fits for last. Boston makes a ton of sense, but you haven't profiled them yet...

      As for the guys on this list... I'd be OK with a Jenkins/Duensing swap, but that might be about it. The rest are pretty MEH. That 1B is nice, but if the Twins are going to trade something of value to get a guy of that caliber, I'd rather it be a higher ceiling SS or more SP help.
    1. Red Bull's Avatar
      Red Bull -
      Lets be honest the Twins aren't gonna make any trades and if they do it will be a bad trade that leaves us all wondering what happened. If they do make a trade it will be one of our only decent players for a low level prospect that wont amount to anything. Its the Twins way.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Red Bull View Post
      Lets be honest the Twins aren't gonna make any trades and if they do it will be a bad trade that leaves us all wondering what happened. If they do make a trade it will be one of our only decent players for a low level prospect that wont amount to anything. Its the Twins way.
      This seems exceedingly pessimistic. What about the Knoblauch trade? The Pierzynski trade? The Gomez trade? The Milton abd Romero trades worked out well too. Sure, there many trades that did not work out in the Twins' favor, but no franchise has a 100% success rate.

      Shameless plug: I'll be recapping all these trades and much, much more at my blog over the next month or so. The link is in my signature and I need to go take a shower.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by Red Bull View Post
      Lets be honest
      Attachment 4761
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Could the Trade Talk series be pinned into its own group? I think for the next 2-3 weeks this will be the nexxus topic, especially compared to the on-field performance.

      I'm interested in hearing the outlook for trading with the Red Sox and especially, the Orioles. The Birds have a yawning need for another lefty in the bullpen and Jim Johnson is having a near-creaky year as the closer- 6 blown saves and a near-4.00 ERA.

      Plus, they are already enamored with former Twins- they could really use a right-handed bat like Trevor Plouffe- he would be clearly a superior option at DH- he would be 4th ranked batter in OPS on the Orioles, at .773.

      Two cheap options in areas of need, plus the Orioles are very hungry to build on last season's success.
    1. RodneyKline's Avatar
      RodneyKline -
      Give Duensing away to anyone who will take him. He is horrible!
    1. RodneyKline's Avatar
      RodneyKline -
      Trade anyone but sign Morneau. He is our number 2 hitter and #1 RBI guy plus a good defensive player. We cannot trade him!
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