With the MLB trading deadline looming in August, will St. Louis try to add pitching?

If you are planning to make a major purchase, it will be to your advantage to find a variety of options available from a number of sellers that can all meet your needs.

The more specialized and limited your options, the more challenging you will be in closing a deal that feels like a good value.

Major League Baseball Trade Deadline functions in much the same way. In about six weeks, on Tuesday, August 2, trades will stop centrally at 5 p.m. and opportunities to source outside help for a playoff run will be significantly limited.

The St. Louis Cardinals probably won’t be in a position where their additions will be particularly pricey. Injuries, of course, remain the ultimate variable; in 2013, an injury to Yadier Molina just before the deadline, the club sent looking for a replacement, and in the end they refused the Chicago Cubs the ransom they asked for Dioner Navarro.

Barring similar strange circumstances, the Cardinals can direct their attention on the only part of the roster that has haunted them so far this season – center relief, in the form of so-called “chase lighteners”. After all, someone has to throw the middle innings with the team trailing but still close without those leads getting out of hand.

TJ McFarland, Drew VerHagen and Nick Wittgren have all sputtered in that role to begin with, and as the Cardinals try to discover whether the young poor Johan Oviedo and Zack Thompson can fill that void, they are no doubt turning their attention outside the organization to bring the righteous around. evaluate the game who can perform the seemingly simple task of getting out.

St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak and the organization may seek help in the middle of relief efforts on Major League Baseball's trading deadline, which is 5:00 PM Tuesday, Aug. 2.

St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak and the organization may seek help in the middle of relief efforts on Major League Baseball’s trading deadline, which is 5:00 PM Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Bard, Alex Colomé possible options

The best option available is probably Daniel Bard, the current Colorado Rockies defender who overcame a case of the yips to return to the majors in 2020 after a seven-year absence. Bard used to train near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, at a facility owned by ex cardinals manager Mike Shildtand was a longtime favorite of the former skipper.

Indeed, Bard made even more sense as a trading target in 2021, but the rudderless Rockies refused to take steps as a seller even as they got out of whack. Star shortstop Trevor Story walked away in free agency; Bard, who has been under club control this season, recovered with improved numbers.

Also Alex Colomé, also in Colorado, will almost certainly be moved this summer. Colomé was a target of the Cardinals in the middle of the last decade when he flourished as the poet of the Tampa Bay Rays. Now 33 years old and on a one-year deal, he and Bard could represent an opportunity for the Redbirds and Rockies to negotiate parallel runways, increasing the likelihood of at least one deal being struck.

What the Washington Nationals can’t offer in quality, they will instead be able to offer in quantity, and with the Cardinals head to DC just before the deadlinethey were able to pick up some pitchers to take back on the team plane.

Weapons may be on the radar

Steve Cishek, Carl Edwards, Jr. and Erasmo Ramírez are all right-handed and will all be available for a very reasonable price; Cishek has already been to St. Louis once, and Edwards Jr.’s experience with the Cubs and familiarity with the division can be both in his favor and against him. The Nationals and Cardinals also did similar business for at least a year, trading Lane Thomas for an innings patch in the form of Jon Lester.

There are others in the game that fit this mold, and even more that aren’t easy to identify yet. Teams that drop out further will be more likely to kick off their respective sell-offs, though the expanded playoffs will keep more teams in the game deeper into the season. Whether that has a truly chilling effect on the trading market remains to be seen.

Hardly any of the pitchers the Cardinals are likely to consider will move the needle for many fans, but that reality speaks to the depths of the current roster. For example, any acquired starter should be talented enough to take Dakota Hudson to the bullpen, without even considering whether Steven Matz will return and contribute.

Adding a catcher risky for Cardinals

Adding a catcher would be similarly fraught; Aside from the clubhouse blow that would effectively accompany Molina in his final season, the Cubs’ Willson Contreras is certainly the best available on the deadline; fueling or not, the Baby Bears probably won’t be eager to send talent to I-55, and the Cardinals don’t like the thought face trade prospects in the coming years.

Indeed, after many years of all but meeting the deadline, John Mozeliak’s Cardinals are now perfectly set to follow that path for the most part in 2022. Nibbling and tucking in the middle innings is hardly too much to ask for a team that considers itself a championship awards contender, and with baseball’s latest decline for some franchise legends, the price of going all-in has seemingly never been lower.

Jeff Jones

Jeff Jones

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