Will the Cardinals Jump?
The Cardinals are in a fascinating position as they approach the deadline. Their plus-122 run differential is the best in the majors and well ahead of the Reds’ plus-50 and Pirates’ plus-42 in the NL Central. That’s good news, because run differential often reflects a team’s underlying strength. On the other hand, the Cardinals know right-hander Shelby Miller could wear down in his first full season, that Lance Lynn struggled in the second half of last year and that righty Jake Westbrook is unlikely to sustain his 2.78 ERA in his first 11 starts. The return of righty Chris Carpenter would help, but the Cardinals can’t count on that. Youngsters such as righties Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez could spell Miller and others in the second half, but that’s a lot of responsibility to place on inexperienced pitchers. All signs point to the addition of a veteran starter, but who? Well, the Phillies’ Lee would be perfect, and the Cardinals could open up a slot for his $25 million salary by parting with Carpenter and right fielder Carlos Beltran at the end of the season.
Problem is, the Phillies give no indication that they are willing to trade Lee, who signaled that the Cardinals appeal to him when he left them off his no-trade list, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi. Well, what if the Cardinals tempted the Phillies by, say, offering third baseman David Freese and a package of prospects for Lee and third baseman Michael Young? The idea is pure speculation — in fact, I concocted it with a player over the weekend. Young could play third for the rest of the season. The Cardinals could move Matt Carpenter to third next season and install prospect Kolten Wong at second. And, ahem, they’d still have Lee. — Ken Rosenthal
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Courtesy of FOXSports.comThe opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.