ST. LOUIS, MO- The deadline to trade players without clearing waivers is Tuesday July 31 at 3pm Central time. While the Cardinals gained ground on the first place Chicago Cubs over the weekend, General Manager Michael Girsch told reporters Sunday night that the results were not going to make a major difference in guiding the team’s philosophy at the deadline. The goal would still be to make improvements that would pay off in 2019, and not just a short term rental for the rest of 2018.
In setting the stage for the moves to be made, we suggested Bud Norris, Jose Martinez, Jedd Gyorko and Tommy Pham were four players who could find themselves elsewhere by Tuesday night.
- Norris is still the leader in the clubhouse in that regard, especially with teams like the Dodgers and Red Sox still among those believed to be looking for relief help.
- When the Cardinals announced a trade of a first baseman to the Yankees Saturday night, most expected it to be Jose Martinez and not Luke Voit. Girsch suggested that discussions on Voit and international bonus money with the Yankees had been ongoing recently, picking up more urgency in the wake of Aaron Judge’s injury. Assuming the ankle tweak that forced Martinez out of Sunday night’s lineup doesn’t scare suitors, he remains an attractive option for an American League team looking to add a DH.
- Martinez’s late scratch Sunday got Gyorko into the lineup on consecutive days, probably a good thing on the trade front, as it hopefully means he’s recovering from dizziness and other symptoms which Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported were of a post-concussion syndrome variety. The Red Sox and Braves could be candidates there, and possibly Houston, if the Astros think they need to shore up second base depth with Jose Altuve now on the DL.
- It seems like everyone has speculated about teams being interested in Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer as of late, with the Cardinals among the pack. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times outlined what a possible deal could look like (or at least start with), mentioning the Rays’ need for a catcher and a power hitting outfielder. If St. Louis doesn’t appear to have the ability to give Tyler O’Neill “starters minutes” here, then he and Memphis teammate catcher Carson Kelly could be good building blocks for a trade. You start to ease the AAA-MLB outfield jam, if one is perceived, by moving O’Neill instead of Pham.
What Happens After July 31?
Don’t expect Norris or Martinez to clear waivers if they aren’t traded by Tuesday’s deadline. It doesn’t mean that they can’t, just that the options are more limited. One player who almost certainly will clear waivers is Dexter Fowler. If he continues to show that he’s not the person who played himself into Mike Matheny’s doghouse, then he could be of interest to a team looking for an outfielder with postseason experience. The Cardinals would likely still have to pick up a lot of the money still owed if a trade is to come to pass.