By Mitchell Goldenberg
In one of the most active Trade Deadlines in a long time, the St. Louis Cardinals elected to avoid any major moves, instead targeting established veteran Left-Handers J.A. Happ and Jon Lester. With Adam Wainwright, J.A. Happ, and Jon Lester all over the age of 37 years-old, this puts St. Louis at the oldest pitching rotation in the MLB.
The goal of the St. Louis Front Office is pretty clear. Acquire arms that can throw strikes. I do not hate the move, but by making this the only move in a ‘Win Now’ season, it is head scratching. St. Louis has a pretty severe need for Left-Handed Batters as well, but there were not any moves made. It would have been nice to see an aggressive play for a Left-Handed Bat, but I would have settled for a bat to begin with. At times, this team can be extremely frustrating to watch. Their Offense slumbers when the pitching is on fire, and then when we figure out the bats, out pitching can’t throw a strike!
The two pieces off of the 40-Man Roster that were traded were John Gant and Lane Thomas. I was very high on both Gant and Thomas entering this season, but both were in need of a fresh start somewhere else. Gant has been excellent at times out of the bullpen, but after being stretched out into the starting rotation, he lost nearly all of his control. I would not be surprised if Gant figured it out with the Twins, but it felt like it was his time to go.
Lane Thomas was an exciting prospect in the 2019 season. Thomas came up, and showed flashes of being a professional hitter with average to below average fielding. He would miss a lot of time with injuries and never returned to the same player he was in 2019. With the emergence of Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill as strong defensive outfielders and average to above average right-handed bats, there really was not a path to playing time with the St. Louis Cardinals.
All in all, there is a lot of negative feelings towards the lack of moves at the deadline for the St. Louis Cardinals, but I do not see this as a bad thing. I like a lot of our prospects, and the asking price of the top tier guys was too much for my taste. It is also important to remember we will be getting Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty back soon. St. Louis will also be expecting Jordan Hicks back sooner rather than later. I hope the offense can step it up soon, because that was more of my concern entering the deadline. All moves can look good on paper, but it is important that they work out on the field. As of July 31st, the St. Louis Cardinals are undefeated in the Lester-Happ Era.