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Cardinals prepared to trade young starting pitching this winter for a shortstop upgrade

Nov 10, 2013, 5:39 PM EDT

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is not being shy about his primary offseason strategy:

There are a couple of shortstop options on the free agent market in Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew, but the Cardinals would rather use their surplus of starting pitching to get a longer-term, more-reliable upgrade.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggested earlier this month that Lance Lynn or Shelby Miller, both in the pre-arbitration stage, could be dangled in the search for Pete Kozma‘s replacement. Kozma is a 25-year-old former first-round pick who fits part of Mo’s desired shortstop profile — young and controllable — but he had a brutal .652 OPS in the minors and owns a .608 OPS in 185 big league games.

The Cards have a ton of money coming off the books this winter between Carlos Beltran, Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook and Rafael Furcal, so a big contract won’t necessarily be a roadblock. That’s why we’ve seen St. Louis involved in speculation for the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki and the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus.

The 2013 National League champs currently carry eight legitimate MLB starters in Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Joe Kelly, Jaime Garcia, Trevor Rosenthal, Miller and Lynn.

  1. spytdi - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Ramgers won’t be trading the “face of the franchise” in Elvis Andrus. He’s the most enjoyable figure on the team. More likely it’s Profar.

    • tuberippin - Nov 10, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      Hah. Unlikely. Most likely they’ll trade Kinsler, and if no one bites on him, they’ll move Andrus.

    • thomas844 - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      Andrus is grossly overrated in my opinion.

    • yahmule - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      I wouldn’t pick Andrus over Profar.

      • okwhitefalcon - Nov 10, 2013 at 11:17 PM

        I heard the Mo interview today, he was merely stating preference – he didn’t rule out anything.

        Jeff Passan of Yahoo is reporting Tulo talks will take place starting this week at the GM meetings.

        Let the tire kicking begin.

  2. steelpenbucs87 - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Reading that last paragraph I am just green with jealous rage right now.

    (Bonus points to anyone who gets that reference)

  3. djeg07 - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    look for asdrubal cabrera to be moved….love to see the tribe move him and get a replacement for jubaldo or kazmir..

    • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:05 PM

      Cabrera has nothing to do with this topic, as he is neither young nor controllable…and he’s also not much of an upgrade…he hasn’t hit for a while and his defense is below average. The Cardinals have been approached by teams trying to get young pitching (as well as Matt Adams) for over a year now and no trades have happened because they aren’t doing deals for modest upgrades or lateral moves….they are looking for a Lindor/Bogaerts/Andrus/Profar/E. Cabrera type SS….not a Yunel Escobar or A. Cabrera type who is close to or past 30 yrs old….if they wanted a guy like that, they could just overpay in FA and use their young pitching to fill another need.

      • gibbyfan - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:19 PM

        RIght on Paper !!

      • djeg07 - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        cabrera has been as consistent of defense player i think new place would bring back offense.

      • paperlions - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        Well, yeah, his defense has been consistent, it has always been below average. Defense doesn’t get better with age.

        Cabrera would certainly be an upgrade for the Cardinals, he’s just not worth very much in trade because of his age, ability, and lack of future control.

      • djeg07 - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        here is some unbiased cabrera info;

      • paperlions - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        What do you think I looked at to decide how good of a defender he is? Notice the consistent negative defensive value even after positional adjustment and the ubiquitous negative UZR/150s.

        He has roughly been a league average hitter over the coarse of his career. He’s useful, sure, but he’s not young, or cheap, likely has played his best baseball already, and has 1 more year of control….and that year isn’t worth much more than he’s already being paid.

      • djeg07 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:11 PM

        trade and re-sign to extension for like 8 mil/yr down 6mil from 2014

  4. internship212 - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Cardinals are out of their mind if they think they are going to get Tulo. Rox aren’t trading Tulo. Cardinals are out of luck so they would be better off just dealing with the shortshop that they have.

    • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      They aren’t looking for Tulo though.

      Tulo = 29 = not young

      Tulo = $134M left on contract = not the definition of “controllable”, which means not expensive

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:25 PM

        I like the implication that if the Cards called up Col and offered Wacha + Martinez + Miller for Tulo, the Rockies would pass.

      • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:47 PM

        Yeah, while it is highly unlikely that the Cardinals would make such an offer, they have the guns to make any team consider trading any player. The hardest guy to trade for would probably be Trout…and if the Cardinals wanted him, they could probably get him…would the Angels turn down Wacha, Miller, Martinez, Adams, and Freese for Trout? That is most of a rotation and 1/2 and IF for one guy. Of course, it would be a dumb trade for the Cardinals, but they’ve got the young talent to get anyone’s attention.

      • jeffbbf - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        Wrong. In this case, “controllable” has nothing to do with money. It means that the Cards want someone that they can keep for a handful of years before they become a free agent. Tulo is thus under contract, and thus controllable through 2021. The Cards want to win now and need a SS. Money is not an issue. And yes…the Cards are looking for Tulo. Whether or not the Rox want to trade him is another issue.

      • paperlions - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:31 AM

        I’m sure the Cardinals will explore all options; but this statement has nothing to do with the possibility of trading for Tulo….and controllable in an MLB context means exactly inexpensive…because inexpensive but valuable assets give teams a lot of control over both the asset and the ability to move the asset for other need.

        There is no context in which this quote can be applicable to a potential Tulo deal because it states that they would like to trade “A young starting pitcher”….as in one. That isn’t going to be enough to get Tulo.

        ….and the Cardinals don’t need him. They need an upgrade at SS, sure, but there are plenty of ways to do that….and they are not in win now mode, they are in win now and later mode. They already know they are good enough to make the playoffs and that the playoffs are a crap shoot once you get there…the game is to make the playoffs as often as possible, not to trade winning now for later.

      • paperlions - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        …and Tulo is nothing like “young”….he is at the back end of his peak years.

        Yes, they may be interested in him as an option, but this quote is not a reference in anyway to such a potential deal.

    • yahmule - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:28 PM

      The Colorado sports media is throwing out some ideas like Craig, Rosenthal, Miller and a lower tier minor leaguer for Tulo, but they’re not sure that’s enough to get the deal done.

      Another wishful scenario is Adams, Miller, Martinez and Wong. Martinez isn’t happening, but I think an Adams/Miller/Wong package would be a great deal for Colorado. People here would howl like scalded dogs if that deal came down. Seriously.

      If I owned the team, I would trade Tulo and send Gonzo off right behind him. Probably see if I could sell high on Cuddyer, too.

  5. spc7ray - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    The Cards wont get Tulo or Elvis but they might get Aybar from the Angels–He hit 280 and is great with the glove-The Angels could replace Aybar with one of there minor leaguers–I would also take Shelby Miller also in that trade

    • thebadguyswon - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      Aybar for Shelby Miller.

      They don’t drug test at your work, do they?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        Aybar for Shelby Miller.

        I wonder which team spc7ray roots for…

    • bkertz - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:52 PM

      I bet you’d love to get Shelby for Aybar, but that’s not happening in a million years. Why would the Cards trade Shelby, a cost controlled, front of the line starter, for an above average SS?

    • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      Again. Aybar is not young, he’ll be 30 in January, and is not cost-controlled.

      In addition, he’s actually not….you know. Good. There is no way Miller would be in such a deal. Lynn or Kelly, maybe, but not Miller.

      • yahmule - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        Last season was the time to get a SS out of the Angels.

  6. tfbuckfutter - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    “So, who would like to trade a starting shortstop for a pitcher who will never perform anywhere near as well as he did for us?”

  7. tn16 - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Ryan Goins??

  8. gibbyfan - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    There are a couple of shortstop options on the free agent market in Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew, but the Cardinals would rather use their surplus of starting pitching to get a longer-term, more-reliable upgrade

    Great to hear Mo………… Iv’e posted elswhere glad to hear you won’t be pissing away major bucks on someone like Drew………..keep doing it the Cardinal way and we will keep being successful. Let Boston or NY pay Drew 15 Million for the next 5-6 years and see how they do with that.

    • tfbuckfutter - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:00 PM


      Keep doing it the smart Cardinal way instead of the stupid Boston (who has beaten you twice in the last 10 World Series) way.

      • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        As a Cardinal fan, this comment gets my endorsement. The Cardinal way is not to be cheap, it is to be smart. Coincidentally, the Boston way is not to be expensive, but to be smart.

  9. boyofzimmer - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Starlin Castro for Shelby Miller… There you go!

    • tuberippin - Nov 10, 2013 at 8:42 PM

      If the Cubs manage to trade Starlin, they’d be selling at an all-time low, and certainly wouldn’t get someone of Shelby Miller’s caliber in return.

  10. albertmn - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    What would the Cardinals gain if they were able to trade for Andrus, as opposed to just throwing that money at Stephen Drew? I understand Andrus is younger, but Drew’s career OPS is 76 points higher. Andrus declined last year and is signed to a long, expensive contract. Wouldn’t they be better served to throw a 3 or 4 year offer at Drew and save the starting pitcher?

    • tuberippin - Nov 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      Andrus is not an outstanding hitter, but his glove is damn near unparalleled. His best comparable through his current age is Alan Trammell, albeit he’ll probably never manage the same kind of power that Trammell had in his prime years (think he hit close to 50 in a two-year span). The Redbirds have enough solid hitting around the rest of the diamond to offset Andrus’s lack of full-on offensive prowess, and he’d still be a big upgrade over Pete Kozma.

      Also, in regards to Andrus’s contract being “long and expensive,” there was an article published in SABR’s most recent journal about the changing nature of contract extensions in relation to free agency, with Evan Longoria and (you guessed it) Elvis Andrus being the two exemplary cases.

      The conclusion is that, based on the given projections for Andrus (and let me repeat that the majority of Andrus’s value is derived from his glove, although his bat isn’t a slouch) and the continual increase in $/rWAR on a season-to-season basis (1 rWAR is projected to cost a team about $7mil by the end of Andrus’s contract), he’s anticipated to be a bargain for 10 of the 11 seasons on his contract extension…the only year in which he’d be categorized as hugely overpaid being the last year of his deal, 2023, when he’s set to make $16.66 million and projected to be worth about 0.9 WAR. Best-case scenario, Andrus plays out like Trammell, but even if Andrus ends up being less than what he’s projected to be, he’d still end up being a lot like Edgar Renteria was.

      Furthermore, the contract Andrus signed has opt-out clauses in 2018 and 2019.

  11. wgward - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Giants need pitching and they have a couple of good SS prospects on the Farm.

    • tuberippin - Nov 10, 2013 at 8:59 PM

      I could see a swap of Lynn or Kelly for Joe Panik, but from what I’ve read, Panik projects to be a fairly average shortstop, despite being SF’s #2 prospect in the organization in 2012 as per Baseball America. He regressed sharply in AA ball this year (his OPS went from .770 at Class A ball to .680 in Class AA ball), he doesn’t hit for power, he’s not very speedy (averages about 10 stolen bases a year and a couple of triples), and his defense is good, but not great (fielding percentage of .976 in the minors, which at the major-league level would be on par with Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar, Zach Cozart, Jean Segura, Brandon Crawford, and Adeiny Hechavarria). I’d compare his ceiling to that of a Cozart or an Aybar.

      Giants could ultimately do such a trade but again they wouldn’t get more than Joe Kelly or Lance Lynn in return. They’d be better off waiting for Kyle Crick to be called up and roll with a rotation of Bumgarner, Cain, Lincecum, Crick, and Yusmerio Petit or another fifth starter plucked from free agency (and they could always bring back Ryan Vogelsong on a cheaper deal).

      • brucewayne3561 - Nov 10, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        How did this story about the Cards needing a SS now , not a prospect in the Giants lower minors system , even wind up being a couple paragraphs about the stupid Giants anyway? Why do these Giants fans always try to turn EVERY story into a book about their team ? The whole point of the story was about the Cards ! DUH! Besides , we wouldn’t trade a good mlb starter for one of your AA OR AAA players that couldn’t help us next year! Get with the topic !

      • tuberippin - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:35 PM

        “How did this story about the Cards needing a SS now , not a prospect in the Giants lower minors system , even wind up being a couple paragraphs about the stupid Giants anyway?”

        Because he put forth the proposition that one of the Giants’ SS prospects could be useful enough to help the Cardinals in short order. Don’t be stupid.

        “Why do these Giants fans always try to turn EVERY story into a book about their team ?”

        Again, you’re being stupid. I’m not a Giants fan, I’m a Phillies fan. You know what they say about assuming.

        “The whole point of the story was about the Cards !”

        No s hit, Sherlock. This was a discussion about the plausibility of a trade that might benefit both the Giants and the Cardinals, to which I made the point that it would not be beneficial for either franchise.

        “Besides , we wouldn’t trade a good mlb starter for one of your AA OR AAA players that couldn’t help us next year!”

        Why are you being so stupid, Batman? Did you stop to think how many of the Cardinals’ own AA/AAA prospects helped get them to the World Series this past year? Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Kolten Wong, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Matt Adams, Seth Manness….all guys that had one full season or fewer coming into 2013, all guys who helped the Cardinals get to the World Series. What makes you think, in light of such a realization, that adding more prospects would HURT the Cardinals as a team?

        “Get with the topic !”

        This was on topic. Your post…not so much.

  12. Carl Hancock - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    If the Cardinals trade Shelby Miller they better get nothing short of Profar. Even then I’d rather they trade Lynn and others. Miller is a potential #2 if not ace. If they’re going to trade him it better be for a top tier player. Profar is a top tier prospect but hasn’t proven himself yet.

  13. allforplato - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Trade Miller, Wong & Adams for Profar & Kinsler.

    Carpenter – 3B
    Kinsler – 2B
    Profar – SS
    Freese to the bench.

    Beltre – 3B
    Wong – 2B
    Adams – 1B
    Andrus – SS

    Another scenario is trading for one of Arizona’s SS.

    • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      The Cardinals would have no interest in Kinsler. He has be sliding down a very steep hill the last couple of years….offense and defense way down, possible cliff approaching. Wong should be as valuable as Kinsler over the next 4 years (considering all aspects of the game) and is likely to be more valuable considering their respective places on the aging curve, and he’ll cost a total of $2M…rather than about $60M.

    • tuberippin - Nov 10, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Kinsler would be better suited to go to an AL team so that he could shift to DH as he ages. Beyond that, why would the Cardinals trade Matt Adams? Dude is a serious power threat, and power is currently the most valued commodity in the game. Sure, they have Allen Craig, but Craig doesn’t have the power Adams has either, and having both of them in the lineup would be way better than just Craig.

      • tuberippin - Nov 10, 2013 at 9:05 PM

        Also, why would they trade with Arizona? The Diamondbacks already overpaid for Didi Gregorius and they’re going to stick with him, and their only other SS is Chris Owings, who was the 7th-best prospect in the system going into last season and was alright in a backup role behind Gregorius last season.

  14. 18thstreet - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    I don’t get it. Why are the Cardinals afraid to spend money on a new shortstop? Is this just a bluff to not look too desperate to in their negotiations with Drew?

    Here’s 24 players who got 400 at bats as shortstops:

    They could either have Stephen Drew (for a lot of money, I admit, and a draft pick). Or they could trade for one of their AMAZING young pitchers for someone who is worse that Stephen Drew. But the whole point of getting high draft picks is to find players as good as the pitcher that St. Louis would part with!

    Yes, Stephen Drew is no sure thing. Can’t hit lefties. Not even that great against righties. But he’s a sure-handed fielder and looks like a guy who’d age well. Drew is exactly what they should be spending their money on. Maybe they just know that they’re likely to get out-bid by the Yankees (who could use Drew at third or at short, as needed) and they’re preparing for that.

    If I were them? I’d hold onto every last one of those young pitchers.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Maybe they just know that they’re likely to get out-bid by the Yankees (who could use Drew at third or at short, as needed) and they’re preparing for that.

      Drew’s not going to the Yanks for the same reason he didn’t sign with them last year, he wants to start and with St. Jeter encased at SS and the Arod/whomever group at 3b, he wouldn’t have a position.

      Can’t really blame him either.

    • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      I think they just prefer to get a longer-term solution, rather than an expensive guy that may be coming off of a career year at age 30. If you look at his career, his offensive and defensive production has bounced all over the place. They may just not be comfortable committing that kind of money to an inconsistent player who is already in his 30s. It isn’t like this is the only thing they plan on doing this off-season, I’m sure they have multiple possible scenarios laid out for how they can spend the money they have budgeted in order to be competitive every year. When a plan is long term, you won’t always like the decisions from a short-term perspective.

  15. disgracedfury - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    They should trade Shelby Miller. Didn’t use him in the World Series(they lost because of that) and he would bring a good SS.

    • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      No, they didn’t lose because Miller didn’t pitch. They lost because no one on the team hit. Miller can’t hit either.

  16. buffalo65 - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Joey Bats is going to St Louis to replace Beltran. Package with some pitching,(2 of the 8 mentioned)coming back. With Bautista in right, You can live with Kozma at short.

    • jaysfan64 - Nov 10, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      All moving Bautista does is plug one hole by creating another..the return would have to be huge for the Jays to even consider moving him and honestly, he’s not worth what everyone thinks he is in a trade…
      He’ll never be worth more than he was in the 2011 offseason…I personally think they’d trade Rasmus before Bautista…now watch AA prove me wrong…

  17. perryt200 - Nov 10, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    I will let paper do all the stats and how they reflect to the pick

    I will just try and explain the possible senarios given what has become to be known as the ‘Cardinal way’

    1st, they trade a possible low payroll starting rotation pitcher for a ML SS and make his previous team pick up some of the payroll. right now i think this is the odds on favorite but still not over 50%

    2nd they beat you on the scouting reports and trade for the best AAA SS and then get boot. either money or draft pick.

    3rd, they give up a litte defense and pay for a hitting veteran on a short term contract, alla Beltran; who can get his payday later.

    what they will not do is commit to a long term contract to an aging SS and just watch his numbers decline as he gets older. not gonna happen

    • paperlions - Nov 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      Yep, there are a few things that they view as bad decision making.

      1) Paying full price while buying into a declining market. Also known as paying top dollar for a player on the wrong side of 30. They will sign such guys, but only if they can do it for few years/dollars if they think he is under-valued.

      2) Pay for players twice. They’ll pay in prospects or in dollars, but not both. But they are NOT giving up top prospects to take on the full salary of an expensive player…that doesn’t mean that they won’t take on some of it, but if they think a contract is “fair”, then they won’t give up top prospects and pay the entire salary. In short, if it is a contract they wouldn’t do if the guy was a FA, then they sure as heck aren’t giving up talent for the right to take on that contract.

      • perryt200 - Nov 10, 2013 at 8:54 PM

        Dangit paper, i kinda thought that is what i just tried to explain.

  18. 13arod - Nov 10, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    internship212 they said they would if they get pitching for him

  19. tn16 - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    Bautista and Goins for Martinez Miller and top of prospect

  20. bobrando - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:49 AM

    If the Angels and Cardinals were to be involved in a trade the pieces would definitely be a two for one in the Cardinals favor. Bourjos and Aybar for Miller or Lynn. perhaps a draft pick or another minor leaguer.

  21. jadaruler - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Profar for Big Oscar?

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