UCB Roundtable: What One Move Would You Make?

It’s tradition around this time of year for the United Cardinal Bloggers to get together and ask the tough questions, the really digging deep ones about the Cardinals and the season that was.  Then I go last and ruin it all.  It’s a little game we play.

This year, I asked the participants the following:

For our final question, let’s get out our magic wand, or at least our reasonable facsimile.  Assuming you were Mo and could make almost any deal or move happen, what would it be?  Again, let’s be reasonable–it would stretch credibility to think Mike Trout is going to wear the birds on the bat next year.  But if a player has been rumored to be available or is a free agent to be signed, they are fair game.  So what would your “dream” move be?

Unsurprisingly, there were a variety of answers, all of wonderful quality.

Dr. Michael Miles (Redbird Rants): We have a writer at Redbird Rants named Josh and I love his work.  He has suggested that the Cardinals would do well to look at A.J. Pollock.  I agree.  The more I look at this name and the possibility, the more I like it.  This “get” might come with a high price (read: Weaver plus) but Pollock- despite injury history- would add so much as well!  (If you would like to read Josh’s post, jump over to: http://redbirdrants.com/2016/10/18/st-louis-cardinals-pollock-case/)

Tom Knuppel (CardinalsGM): Let’s trade with the White Sox for Adam Eaton and Chris Sale. The Sox can have any 8 players that are not named Piscotty, Diaz, Molina, Martinez or Reyes.

Mark Tomasik (RetroSimba): The Cardinals need speed and a leadoff batter. They would produce more runs if Matt Carpenter hit somewhere other than leadoff. So the deal I want to see is the Cardinals acquire Dee Gordon from the Marlins for Kolten Wong, Tommy Pham and Dean Kiekhefer. It would be highly controversial because of Gordon’s drug suspension in 2016. However, like Jhonny Peralta, I believe Gordon has learned from his mistake and won’t repeat it. In Gordon, the Cardinals would get a leadoff batter who produced 176 hits and 64 stolen bases for the 2014 Dodgers and 205 hits and 58 steals for the 2015 Marlins. He ranked first among NL second basemen in fielding percentage in 2015.

Josey Curtis (The Redbird Retreat): Ooh, I like Mark’s idea. The acquisition of Dee Gordon sounds pretty intriguing now that I think about it, considering he could provide a much-needed lift on the bases and in the field. What’s often forgotten is his ability to hit for high average which, with all of the power in 2016, the Cardinals lacked, as only three players — Yadier Molina, Stephen Piscotty, & Matt Carpenter — hit over .270, and Yadi was the only one to bat better than .300. 

What interests me most, nonetheless, is his high stolen-base rate, a game-changing trait that could definitely change the entire complexion of the batting order, as well as solidify the infield defense.
Laura and Holly (STL CardGals): I think if Holly had a choice, she would definitely sell the farm to rope in Mike Trout, or maybe a return of David Freese. But in a more realistic world, I would honestly prefer a new deal with Matt Holliday. I know there’s definitely a bandwagon ready to send him out of STL, now that he’s going to be 37 in the off-season, and has dealt with injuries the past two seasons, etc. But I’m still convinced that keeping him here would have been a better move for the Cardinals. If he was on track for 30 home runs this season, barring the unfortunate injury, who’s to say he won’t continue down that same road in 2017? And maybe even more importantly, losing him from that notorious “clubhouse chemistry” we’re always hearing about, not to mention one of the three Cardinals pillars the last five years, can’t be good for morale. And I think team morale is overlooked more than it should be. As crazy as it sounds, sometimes morale and attitude can win seasons, even over pure raw talent.
Tara Wellman (Bird Tales): I’m down for a big power move. An upgrade in CF as good as Mike Trout would certainly qualify as a “dream move,” I think. (Remember last year when we were all banking on Giancarlo Stanton? Those were the days…)
I know there are a lot of people advocating against a play for Dexter Fowler, but there’s a part of me that 1) really likes what I see, and 2) would be extremely entertained by the chance to steal him away from Chicago. I mean, he’s basically Jason Heyward without the enormous price tag (and the whole rock-bottom season thing…). Along the same line, I’ve been a proponent of the Cardinals pursuing Charlie Blackmon, too. I think Colorado would have several appealing options from the likely available Cardinals players…I’m sure something could be worked out.
No, neither of those guys are Stanton or Trout-esque, but there is a trend…center fielder with a solid glove, good arm, and leadoff potential. I know, I know, Matt Carpenter’s the leadoff guy! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! I can’t help it. I’ve been saying it for years, much to the dismay of many people who I’m sure think I’m clueless for suggesting it, but a healthy Matt Carpenter – especially in the absence of Matt Holliday – paired with a real, legitimate, proven leadoff option, could change the dynamic just enough to be dangerous. Plus, it can’t hurt to have someone else capable of hitting leadoff so we never have to see Jedd Gyorko, Randal Grichuk, or Kolten Wong hitting at the top of the order again. …in theory.
My thanks to everyone who chimed in and there were a lot of great responses.  Right now, my personal leaning is that if there was just one move that had to be made, it’d be the signing of Cuban defector Lourdes Gurriel Jr.  If I could get greedy and ask for another, I think I might go along with Tom, at least in acquiring Chris Sale.  Those two moves could really transform this team not only for 2017 but for years going forward, which is something we are used to out of the Cardinals.
Do you have a particular move you’d like to see?  Leave it in the comments!

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