Today marks the beginning of a sprint three months in the making. All of the rookie league squads are in full swing looking to repeat with this afternoon the deadline to sign draft picks from last month. Different reports have one possible name in play, but Seton Hall RHP Shane McCarthy may just go down as one to watch instead of being a future St. Louis farm hand.
By far the more important story for 7/7 is how the Cardinals finish the first half and what that means the next three weeks. Look, it is forever saved for future reference that trading prospects has never been an idea this scribe supports. Dating back nearly a decade now, pick any trade from Matt Holliday to Zach Duke with the price of admission seemingly on trial.
Whether or not you believe in market size, St. Louis arguably has not fared well lately in the Free Agent game. Dexter Fowler plays the game better than most but was overpaid. Same story for Brett Cecil and Mike Leake but honestly, that just might have to be the way to get talent to sign without missing out. The days of selling the Arch and history and Red Jackets left when Albert skated out the door.
That leaves drafting and promoting which will always be the more difficult path when the Cardinals are never going to be picking in the top 10, at least without a rebuild which appears unlikely. Delvin Perez could be the SS for the decade starting in 2020, but he is currently experiencing struggles in Johnson City which probably caused a drop in the most recent prospect lists.
Baseball America has jumped the gun and released the updated look with recent picks adding to the fun. While not a shock, it appears losing a season for surgery has not cooled the appeal for Alex Reyes. He still tops all pitchers on the list and unfortunately will be at the center of all trade discussions leading up to the deadline. If there were ever a place for an untouchable list, my hope is Reyes stays there.
On the positive side of things, three teammates from Memphis are right in the thick of things as well, with trade talk surrounding the trio more and more every day. Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver basically traded spots on the BA list but are front and center for a possible blockbuster deal. And to be honest, this is a crucial time for the organization with likely franchise pieces in play around the league.
With Kelly and Weaver both already on the 40-man roster, that will factor into any discussions with Jack Flaherty the wild card in the entire mix. Flaherty smashed the Texas League and is headed for the Futures Game in Miami for even more publicity. As crazy as it sounds, Flaherty still is only 21 years old and will never have higher value than now.
Who your pick is for a power bat to lengthen the order depends on who you ask. And buckle up for a crazy ride leading up to the deadline as no one knows what the new GM will do!