John Mozeliak (right) before a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
An interview with new St. Louis Cardinal Thomas Francisco
The St. Louis Cardinals’ trade plans have come into focus, with the team likely to stand pat at the trade deadline.
When the St. Louis Cardinals won their first two series of the second half of the season against the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, it looked like they were on the verge of breaking out of a season-long struggle. But after losing the first two games of a series against the Cincinnati Reds, the Cardinals are right back where they started — and it may have a significant impact on their trade plans.
The Cardinals, now 49-50, have fallen back to nine games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central. Their pitching staff should get better in the near future, with both Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas making progress in their recoveries. But the offense that was supposed to be so dominant with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt has been consistently inconsistent and has been a primary reason for the team’s slow start.
With their series loss against the Reds, the Cardinals appear primed to make small upgrades or even stand pat at the deadline. And in a season that started with so much promise, it’s a disappointing result — and a position the Cardinals did not see themselves being in almost 100 games into the season.
No longer are the Cardinals in position to pursue Max Scherzer, who is more likely to get dealt now that the Washington Nationals have fallen off. They aren’t even in position to pursue Kyle Gibson, Jose Berrios or any other of the top starters available. The most likely options they pursue could even be on the free-agent market, with left-hander Cole Hamels being a possibility.
Offensively, the Cardinals are in a similar position — which puts them in a tough spot, considering offense is arguably their greatest need. But any move they make to upgrade the roster, whether it be pitching or offense, would have to impact them this season and in future seasons. And considering that the Cardinals are unwilling to part with any of their top prospects, it puts them in a position where they may have no choice but to sit on the sidelines come July 30.