(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
It is the off season and what better thing is there to do than propose trades between teams?
OK, besides spending time with my family that I neglected throughout the post season.
Now hypothetical trades can be a monumental waste of time (because I have no power to make any of these deals) and often stink of bias. Obviously everyone wants their team to make a big deal and get a lot with little in return.
As I type this, no doubt a Yankee fan is writing to a friend “We should trade for Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig. I’m thinking the Dodgers will take Ivan Nova, A-Rod’s contract and a few prospects. That’s fair, right?’
But I actually think there is a deal out there to be made that will help the St. Louis Cardinals both in the long and short term and could help the Arizona Diamondbacks contend for the 2014 pennant.
In other words it is a potential deal that could help both sides.
Now Shelby Miller played the role of Maytag Repair Man in the post season, reduced to a single appearance in the Division Series, after a Rookie of the Year worthy season.
Some speculate that he will be packaged to acquire Rangers’ odd man out Jurickson Profar. If they make that deal, it would be a solid one and it could potentially help both.
But hear me out.
St. Louis is in a position to deal an arm and yet still contend. They are in a similar position that Tampa Bay was in last winter when they dangled James Shields to potential suitors and netted the best minor league hitter in the game, Wil Myers. Not only did they get maximum value for the trade. The player they acquired is someone they have control of for at least the next six seasons.
Perhaps the Cardinals can swing a deal that would not have to cost them Shelby Miller or Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha.
The target may not be as coveted as Myers was last season, but could be valuable to St. Louis as they try to make their third World Series in four seasons.
Photo: Kenny Karst/MiLB.com
Chris Owings was a first round pick for Arizona in 2009 and has developed into one of the organization’s brightest stars. He has made it to the majors at the age of 21 by hitting with decent power and a high average all the way through Triple-A.
He was the Pacific Coast League’s MVP after batting .330 and leading the circuit in total bases.
But like Profar, he is facing a logjam. The Diamondbacks have a crowded infield.
MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt is at first. Aaron Hill at second and veteran Martin Prado mans third. Didi Gregorius was brought over in a blockbuster deal last year that cost them coveted young pitcher Trevor Bauer. Cliff Pennington and prospect Matt Davidson give Arizona
The Diamondbacks could potentially relieve their crowded infield with a deal involving Owings and Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (pronounced: Samardzija ). The Cardinals should jump in.
Owings may not have Profar’s ceiling but he doesn’t have his cost either. A deal for Owings could give the Cardinals infield depth for the foreseeable future without sacrificing Miller.
Photo: Scott Kane – USA Today
25 year old Joe Kelly already has two seasons of post season experience including a start in the World Series, team control and a reasonable price tag. Put young Kelly in an Arizona rotation with Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Randal DelGado and Tyler Skaggs and the Diamondbacks would have rotation depth and infield depth to contend.
Plus a deep rotation would mean the Diamondbacks would not have to rush top prospect Archie Bradley to the show and make him a late season surprise, a la Michael Wacha.
If some of the disappointing outfielders improve in 2014, Arizona would have a deep team and still have depth or trade chips to improve.
Meanwhile in St. Louis, the deal would put Owings’s right handed bat in a left handed heavy lineup. He’d play short, Kolten Wong at second, Descalso at third and Matt Adams at first, assuming 2011 World Series hero David Freese is non tendered. Adams, Wong and Owings all have less than a year of big league service.
More importantly, the St. Louis pitching depth would still be second to none. Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha will still head the deepest rotation in the game. Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez, Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist anchor a 25 year old or younger bullpen handled by Yadier Molina, the best catcher in the game.
And with Oscar Tavares and Chris Owings joining the team, the defending National League champs could add two of Triple-A’s most exciting players to a team with the pitching intact and control over their depth for the next bunch of years.
Sure the Cardinals can sign Stephen Drew or trade for Alexei Ramirez or J. J. Hardy even if the Profar deal never comes to fruition.
But a deal that can solidify their infield for the next half decade, add a right handed bat AND allow them to keep Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn?
It is worth a call, isn’t it?