The Cardinals have won 2 games in a row…
But with the Diamondbacks and Nationals on deck for the next 6 games, let’s just say I’m not personally optimistic that the Cardinals are on their way to being buyers of talent in July.
And if you’re not buying… you should be selling.
Let’s talk about the players the Cardinals are most likely to trade before July 31st.
Lance Lynn: 70% chance of being traded
It’s cute how many fans still try to price in ‘hometown discounts’ into Lance Lynn’s forthcoming contract negotiations. ‘He’s been a Cardinal since he was a baby… he doesn’t want to leave!’ they’ll say. ‘I think they can get him for like 12M per for 4 or five years or something’.
As of this post, Lance Lynn has produced 13 WAR points over 5+ seasons for the Cardinals. For that work he has been paid $24,882,000 or roughly $1,914,000 per WAR point.
The going rate for WAR point is around 8 million dollars (maybe a bit more), meaning that Lynn has provided the Cardinals with around $104,000,000 in value during his time in St. Louis.
The ‘hometown discount’ has already been applied, my friends. And the Cardinals made out like a bandit.
His agent knows this. Lance Lynn knows this.
As a 30-year-old that has one shot to get capital P-A-I-D? It’s coming this winter.
With the Cardinals having legit options for starters in 2019 (including Alex Reyes’ return), the Cardinals have an asset that will return value, even if it’s just as a rental for a contender.
So why not 100%? Well, if Lynn signs with another team as a free agent after the season, the Cardinals will get a high compensatory pick. Depending on the trade package offered and Lynn’s openness to sign with that team… the Cardinals might willing to delay any decisions on Lynn to the off-season and at the worst get a nice draft pick.
Trevor Rosenthal: 50% chance of being traded
I’m still confused that after what we saw Andrew Miller do in the 2016 postseason, Trevor Rosenthal still hasn’t gotten an opportunity to be a ‘super-reliever’. The dude has always wanted to be a starter, but has the pitch arsenal more suited to be a closer.
How – WHY – haven’t the Cardinals found the middle ground and let him go 2-4 innings a couple of times a week instead of insisting he’s an 8th only guy? At least try it, no?
If he’s a Cardinal by August is probably a coin-flip.
He’s got one more year of arbitration left (meaning he’s probably around 7.5M for 2018) and has pitched in big games before (albeit not always well). He fits the profile of the kind of player a team will surrender something of value for when the Cardinals open up for trade business next month – especially if that team thinks he could be a starter or super-reliever in 2018.
Seung-hwan Oh: 60% chance of being traded
I think this is the player that the Cardinals hope someone like Washington comes in with a solid offer for so they can take it.
Oh is a pro’s pro. And if his stat line wasn’t so far off from 2016, he’d probably already be close to being gone – reliable relievers in their mid-30s are a luxury that the Cardinals just don’t need to posses if they’re not contending.
He’s on a reasonable contract for 2017 and is under team control (without a specific number) for 2018 (most likely a nice bump up from 2.75M that he’s getting in ’17). The question is whether other teams view him as the top-tier closer he was in 2016 or the 0.1 WAR closer he’s been in 2017.
There would be downside, though…
Carlos Martinez: 5% chance of being traded
Here are the three big factors teams look for when giving up super-premium prospects:
- Potential (along with any track record)
Martinez is 25, a burgeoning star and is locked in for 4 more years with another 2 option years at a very reasonable price.
He is exactly the type of player that other teams will surrender their top minor-leaguers and 1st round draft picks for. He is simultaneously the player the Cardinals would like to trade least, but the only player that the Cardinals would get a huge haul for if they did.
He will not be traded.
The Cardinals want to go in full rebuild mode.
Adam Wainwright: 1% chance of being traded
Not because the Cardinals wouldn’t like to, though. That 19M dollars is hanging heavy over the team for 2018.
But unless they’re willing to eat 3/4 (or more) of his contract in order to make a deal happen, I don’t think a MLB team is going to take a flyer on Wainwright. Especially since he’s sporting a beefy 7.00 ERA on the road in 2017.
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