The Cardinals can be pretty creative in where they plan to make upgrades before the trade deadline. They can do this without giving up the boatload of prospects needed for David Price, David Wright, or Giancarlo Stanton (who probably won’t be traded).
Here’s a few names on the market that could be had for much less:
Huston Street, RHP, Padres: The Padres are expected to shop their closer soon, but why would the Cardinals want to check on him? Trevor Rosenthal is worth more to the Cardinals as a starter. With Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia on the shelf, the Cardinals are being tested on starting pitching depth. Moving Rosenthal to the rotation now limits the innings for him and would open him up to about 180 innings next year. Street is a reliable option at closer and has had a great year this season. He’s affordable too; he’s guaranteed $7,000,000 this season and has a club option for next year at the same amount. It would probably take 2 prospects – a pitcher and an outfielder. Zach Petrick and Mike O’Neill could intrigue them.
Dan Murphy, 2B, Mets: While Kolten Wong is far from a bust at this point, second base is a spot that could be upgraded. Murphy is having a career year (.298/.353/.417), making a reasonable $5,700,000 this year, and is under team control for another season. The Giants and Blue Jays have made their interest in the second baseman known, so bidding here could get a little heated; that is, if the Mets make him available. His name is in the rumors every year. An aggressive offer of Lee Stoppelman and Randal Grichuk might peak their interest though (that is, if the Cardinals do believe that Grichuk’s contact issues will prevent him from being an MLB regular).
Ben Revere, CF, Phillies: Reports are showing that the Phillies are listening on all of their outfielders; Revere is the most appealing option of the bunch because he can play center field and he’s got 3 years of team control. Like Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos, he’s not a source of power, but he’s got the speed to rival Bourjos and has been able to get on base better. Since he’s slumping this year, the cost would probably go down. The Cardinals have depth and could offer up someone like Greg Garcia and Jorge Rondon.
Ben Zobrist, 2B, Rays: Zobrist is another Ray that keeps having his name pop up in trade rumors. His versatility works in his favor, as he can play just about anywhere on the diamond; this year alone he’s seen time at second, short, left, right, and DH. He’d primarily be at second base, but he’d also be the perfect player to move around and give others time off without relying on Mark Ellis or Dan Descalso. Zobrist will be pricey too, since there are many teams that would love to add him. The starting point would probably be Stephen Piscotty, plus another prospect.
While the big name players would be nice, you don’t want to sell the future for a short term fix. Many people right now are seeing the rotation go down, but the team has options there that don’t require giving up Oscar Taveras. That’s also before they look at what to do to get Taveras in the lineup – one of Matt Adams and Allen Craig could be moved to make room.