July 21, 2024

On Saturday, John Mozeliak revealed his trade deadline approach. It looks that once again, he is approaching it the incorrect way.

On Saturday, John Mozeliak spoke with several bloggers and podcasters about the Cardinals’ current situation. One subject he discussed was the trade deadline and how he intends to approach it.

The Cardinals are right in the middle of the battle, but they are still two games below.500, so they might be both buys and sellers.

I’ve made my position on this issue plain multiple times, so I won’t dwell on it in today’s essay. However, Mozeliak revealed his strategy for this year’s deadline.

The longtime Cardinals executive says he intends to shop rather than sell, and he’s searching for a fifth starter to consume innings and a right-handed bat who can play some center field.

One thing is certain, whether you are a buyer or a seller. Mozeliak is approaching the trade deadline in the wrong way again.

 

John Mozeliak: Cardinals know 'we have to make some changes' - ESPN

 

John Mozeliak has the wrong approach for the trade deadline

In an ideal world, the Cardinals would be purchasers every season. That’s what we all want to see. And if the Cardinals decide to make a purchase this year, that is terrific. But they have to execute it well, and based on Mo’s statements, it doesn’t appear that they have the right approach.

Once again, it appears that they are aiming low. If the Cardinals truly want to compete, they must strive higher. Simply adding a fifth starter will not suffice. They require high-level pitching. If the Astros and Rangers decide to sell, I’m thinking of someone like Nathan Eovaldi or Justin Verlander.

Sure, having a fifth starter will help, especially with the uncertainty surrounding that position right now. But it won’t make them World Series contenders.

To me, this appears to be Mozeliak trying to do the bare minimum and only doing something to say he tried. When you look at this starting rotation, it’s evident that only one player can be trusted in the postseason: Sonny Gray. As Jim Bowden put it a few weeks ago, the Cardinals could win his start in a three-game Wild Card Series, but they would almost certainly lose the other two games against the best National League teams.

Granted, the National League isn’t particularly excellent this season, which is why the Cardinals still have a shot. Sure, simply getting in gives you a chance. Consider the Diamondbacks last year and the Phillies in 2022.

However, those teams possessed the pieces required to advance far into the playoffs. They had multiple strong starting pitchers and a well-rounded team overall. The Cardinals do not have that, and the only way they can make noise in the playoffs, even if they slip in as a Wild Card and go on a run, is to add a starter who can play next to Gray and be trusted in postseason games.

An additional bat could be useful, especially given the number of injuries. Unfortunately, I do not believe the Cardinals will go big hunting for a bat, and it does not appear that they want to. They appear to be seeking for a more complementary component, such as Harrison Bader, which isn’t awful, but they need a better option.

But if the Cardinals are going to buy, they must make the huge splash that both Central divisions appear to avoid, which I don’t see them doing. That’s why I’ve been hesitant to buy this whole time.

None of Mozeliak’s proposed moves will propel the Cardinals to the World Series. They already have enough back-end starters, and if they’re going to add a starting and a bat, they should be large pieces.

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