St. Louis & New York: The Trade?
This week I've been discussing a potential trade between the assumed to be selling St. Louis Cardinals and Yankees. Here it is:
Has the Story Changed?
For the New York Yankees, things look bleak. They are sitting at the bottom of the AL East and have lost 4 of the 5 games coming out of the All-Star break. What makes it even worse is that the teams they have lost to are the Angels and the Rockies, neither of whom have been good in recent years; neither of whom are doing well this year.
Later tonight the Yankees will begin a 3-game weekend series against the Royals. Normally these series are exciting as the team adds wins and pads a lead in the wild card. I'm not quite so positive now. Follow that up with a 2 game series against the Mets (who are getting hot), a 3 game series with the Orioles, and the first of a 3 game series against the Rays to round out the month of July and the Yankees could realistically end the month with another 5-7 losses across the remaining 2 week stretch.
This week I was hoping the Yankees would roll over the Mike Trout-less Los Angeles Angels and give us some hope. Instead, they've been taken, in miserable games, to the bank.
Thus begs the question: is a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals even the smart thing to do right now?
The Answer is Yes.
Remarkably- and maybe due to my own stubbornness- I still think my trade idea is a worthwhile consideration. Or, at the very least, it poses as an interesting thought experiment.
That isn't to say I'm not reconsidering some of the options I may have already put forward, but I still believe a viable trade that will make the Yankees better in the long-run and give the Cardinals the ability to get out from long-term contracts and have space to promote from within.
Fundamentally, it seem that two teams that could very well both be below a .500 winning percentage trading does not seem like a recipe for success on either side. However, one side accumulating star talent and trading prospects with short-term losses could prove well.
If you're able to read between my words, you probably have a good fundamental idea of where I am going with this. So, without further ado, let's get into creating a massive blockbuster trade proposal.
The Trade (In All It's Glory):
A surprise 3rd team was added to the mix!
Let me explain this trade from all three sides, starting with the surprise new addition, Miami Marlins.
Miami Marlins: The Miami Marlins are currently a team that could very well make a push for the postseason, though they are in a difficult situation where it doesn't make sense to overspend in the short term while sacrificing long-term prospects and goals. Thus, with this trade, they get to make some small improvements to the team while not giving up much in terms of financial commitments or losing out on much in terms of prospects.
Overall, the Marlins need help at catcher, first base, and at shortstop. Luckily for them, a piece for all three positions could be found from the New York Yankees. Gleyber Torres' bat could help add a boost to their offense while filling in at shortstop, Jose Trevino would add both offense and defense, and Anthony Rizzo gets to go home (he's from Parkland, Florida).
In return, they would send the Yankees a mixture of Jacob Stallings (who has fallen apart in Miami) and the brotherly prospect duo of Victor Mesa Jr. and Victor Victor Mesa.
While the Yankees don't get back much in this deal, this part of the deal really serves to open up a few roster spots and it gives the Marlins some talent to add to their team for this year and next.
St. Louis Cardinals: The St. Louis Cardinals franchise knows how to find and develop talent that will make an impact at the MLB level. Though they find themselves in a situation where the team is faltering in 2023, they use a small down period to shed some salary, see what talent they have waiting in the farm, and also recoup some prospects for the future.
The Cardinals would take back a bit of prospect talent across the spectrum from the Yankees via outfielder Everson Pereria, starting pitching prospect Will Warren, and shortstop prospect Trey Sweeny. Each of these three players have good projections to make it to the MLB and they are all in the upper levels of the minors, which means they could be making their debuts in the next season or so. This fits the timeline for the Cardinals by trying a fast re-tool.
To get those prospects from the Yankees, the Cardinals then have to trade away Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Dylan Carlson. Luckily, though the Cardinals already have Arenado's immediate replacement in Nolan Gorman, and Carlson's replacement...multiple times over. The only player they don't have an immediate replacement for is Paul Goldschmidt, though they do have a promising first base prospect in Luken Baker waiting in Triple-A. Much like the Yankees prospects they would get, Baker would be given a real shot to prove his value.
However, because of the sheer amount of money the Cardinals are shedding, they also agree to take on the remainder of Josh Donaldson's contract as a sunk cost for the remainder of this season and a slight hit on next season.
This is a revamp move for the Cardinals to open up the team to more financial flexibility when their homegrown talent starts to become expensive and gives them the remaining half season to see and evaluate what their homegrown talent can do when given a shot.
New York Yankees: This move would shake the Yankees to their core. This move would also fix a lot of problems with the current Yankees core and make them a serious contender to improve at the end of 2023 (to potentially make it into the wild card) and also open themselves up to making another run in 2024.
Nolan Arenado would fix the teams problems at third base. Paul Goldschmidt would fix the teams problems at first base. Dylan Carlson would finally give the Yankees an everyday left fielder. However, these fixes aren't just defensive as these three players would also help to add a much need boost to the line-up.
While trading away Gleyber Torres and Jose Trevino would be a negative for fixing the team now, this move would also give the Yankees the chance to let Oswald Peraza show his stuff while playing an every day second base. It would also open them up to adding either Ben Rortvedt or Austin Wells to the team for the home stretch.
The Yankees need to go all-in on Cole and Judge right now. We're seeing what happens when stars age when looking at Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge's best comparison for how his body ages is him. The Yankees are not in the position to sell it all, but need to be willing to make moves to go for it while the players on their biggest contracts are still going to make good on those deals.
So what the Yankees lose out on the future of Periera, Sweeny, or Warren? By the time the Yankees would've called them up there is a large enough risk of Cole or Judge having already fallen apart. The team is built with such vulnerability that the only moves to make to correct it are to go all-in or blow it up.
This is a move that has the Yankees play total optimist and go all-in. Regardless of the cost of salaries and prospects. This is a move that signals to the AL East- and all of baseball- that the Yankees are not ever going to play like they are out of it. It's a move that reflects the Yankees of George.
It's a move that allows the Cardinals to focus on their future and gives them a huge leg-up in the financial markets right before a huge player is about to hit the free agent market (Shohei Ohtani). It's a move that gets them prepped and ready for long-term success.
It's a move that allows the Marlins to continue building a strong team from top to bottom with the steady progress they've been making while not hindering them financially either.
What are your thoughts?
I'm well aware this would never happen. It's too large of a deal and there are far too many moving parts.
However, the thought experiment of player values and trading- I believe- makes this an interesting proposal to consider how it could be a way to make a massive statement across the league.