Just when you think January will end without much to talk about, one article flips the script for all the wrong reasons. Granted any ‘news’ about the Cardinals helps get us closer to actual baseball, but it is true the silly season has turned into the wacky world after Chicago dominated both parts of the 2016 hardball calendar. I fully expected more from Cubs fans who may just be savoring the shiny new shirts that can finally replace the ones from the 80’s. This is not a slight on the Baby Bears either, as they are built to run towards another October in a steamroll fashion.
On the other side of the Windy City, however, much of the long winter was dominated by a White Sox club that retooled in the most glorious fashion. After months of speculation, both Chris Sale and Adam Eaton were traded to no one’s surprise. The real shock was in the return package on each and what that might signal going forward in the new CBA. Bill Ivie and I chatted yesterday and both feel St. Louis is primed to be very active on the trade front as well as in free agency the next two years.
That coincidence was before I had even heard about the story linked above, since Jose Quintana checks plenty of boxes for every contending team in the sport. It is only natural to speculate given that Chicago hardly has put to rest any of the discussion about their southpaw ace but the timing just seems off at least for the Birds on the Bat. Not only do the Cardinals have a full rotation at present, but they need the WBC just to find innings for a couple of other options. Acquiring a lefty starter to replace Garcia last month would have also required another move with Lance Lynn needing a spot, but that isn’t even the most head-scratching part of this.
Alex Reyes may be pushed back to start the season, and that in no way means he did anything to deserve a trip to Memphis. Carlos Martinez and Reyes form a dynamic duo that St. Louis can ride to the postseason for the next decade, but if Michael Wacha returns to form in March there is every reason to showcase him in April. The rookie phenom won’t be traded for Quintana or anyone else in 2017 or 2018, not when you are trying to catch the Cubs. Does taking Reyes out of the equation mean a deal between the two clubs is dead? That is the million(s) of dollars and years of control question that will have to be answered in any trade the next few years.
While the front office made the right move in sacrificing a first round pick to get Dexter Fowler, they can’t be in a hurry to clear up the 40-man roster crunch with one swift move. Because let’s be honest here, Quintana or any other game-changing target is going to cost much more in prospects than what the Cards should be willing to sacrifice in January. If this becomes a late June and into July question, though, feel free to mention how much the cost has risen between now and then. Giving up potentially 30+ years of control for even a top starting pitcher before any games have happened only adds to the concerns that one or more pitchers is not healthy.
Yes, the future is very bright in St. Louis but as many of us learned from the Brian Dozier non-news, other teams are going to continually try and use the Cardinals for leverage. Quintana may still end wearing the Birds on the Bat but personally, I am very much looking forward to this campaign and how some of that younger talent performs. There is always time to make moves during the dog days, and In Mo We Trust has never been needed more.