COMMENTARY | The St. Louis Cardinals open the second half of the season with the best record in baseball. While no one could blame them if they did not make any moves prior to the trade deadline, rumors suggest they are looking to upgrade.
Possibly the most popular site for trade rumors is MLBTradeRumors.com. The site has been frequently accurate in gathering the rumors around Major League Baseball. In this article, Marc Hulet suggests that the Cardinals may be willing to part with Kolten Wong due to Matt Carpenter's stellar play since converting to second base.
Speculation has led to many theories as to what the Cardinals can do at the trade deadline thanks to the success of Carpenter at second base and his ability to play third base and the corner outfield positions.
Should the Cardinals make a major move at the trade deadline, these rumors could reach fruition:
The Farfetched Rumor: Matt Holliday
Many fans have argued that the time has come to move Matt Holliday and let some of the younger players take over left field. The theory is to move Allen Craig to left field and allow slugging first baseman Matt Adams to play every day. The fact is that the Cardinals are very comfortable with Holliday in their lineup and, as far as anyone can tell, Holliday has not even been discussed in trade talks.
The biggest problem here is that Holliday would only be dealt to someone in contention, which would make it hard to acquire a top-quality player in return. If the team decides to try and move Holliday, it is more likely to happen during an offseason discussion than at the trade deadline.
The Contract Expiration Rumor: Carlos Beltran
The right fielder for the Cardinals has proved that he is capable of continuing to play at a very high level and, as far as anyone can tell, a new contract between himself and the Cardinals is most likely not going to happen. The Cardinals would replace Beltran with either Craig or Carpenter and allow Wong or Adams to take up an everyday spot in the lineup.
Again, the problem comes from which team would be willing to acquire Beltran knowing that he will become a free agent at the end of the year. A team of that nature would have to be in contention and would likely be offering players with a promising future, not players that can help the team win right now.
The Cost-Effective Rumor: David Freese
It has been speculated around the Internet and even in this space that the Cardinals could improve their current roster, get younger at a few positions, and save payroll by moving David Freese. Again, this rumor comes back to the success of Matt Carpenter's bat, not necessarily his success at second base. The idea is to move Carpenter back to his natural position, third base, and call up Kolten Wong to manage second base.
The theory has merit but is met with harsh criticism by fans of the team who have no desire to see the hometown-hero Freese moved. He does have a few years of team control, though they figure to be costly.
The Unknown Rumor: Kolten Wong
There are drawbacks and benefits to trading prospects. On one hand, the team could part ways with a player that goes on to a Hall of Fame-caliber career in a different uniform. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the prospect will be successful at the major league level. The idea behind this rumor is simple: The Cardinals know what they have in Carpenter, Freese, Holliday and Beltran, so trade the prospect in an effort to know you are improving.
The newest rumor makes the most sense, depending on the Cardinals' confidence level in Wong. If general manager John Mozeliak truly feels that Wong is a "can't miss" prospect than Wong will be untouchable in trade talks. However, if Mozeliak is comfortable with Carpenter and Freese for the next few seasons, Wong is likely to be dealt so that the team can improve.
In the end, the only one that truly knows the team's future plans is Mozeliak, and he has given fans no reason to doubt his choices in the past.
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- Kolten Wong
- Matt Holliday