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St Louis Post-Dispatch : Best Shortstop Fit for the Cardinals is JJ Hardy


jamesenoch

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No, actually I think Wildcard has it right. It is the Cardinals need for a shortstop driving this whole discussion.

No, what's driving this particular discussion is the irrational overvaluing of their own players by Orioles fans.

Let's not forget that the Cardinals came within 2 wins of the World Championship with Kozma playing shortstop 72% of the time. Yes, the Cardinals do need a better shortstop and I think they're willing to overpay a little to fill that need. They're not desperate and Mozeliak has proven himself willing to stand pat, rather than to make a stupid trade. And yes, trading Miller for Hardy straight up, without an extension, would be exceedingly stupid!

A one year rental of Hardy is nowhere near worth a top of the rotation starter that's already won 15 games his rookie season. Barring injury, Miller should continue to improve and be a frequent contender for the CYA. As with Carpenter and Wainwright, Miller's strongest competitor for the CYA could be his own teammates, Wacha, Martinez, or Rosenthal.

I understand the argument that the Cardinals can simply move another of their talented prospects into the rotation, but it's not a valid argument. They're not going to sell their best prospects just because they have replacements nearly as good. There's no such thing as "too much pitching", as the use of 10 different starters last season, and 25 pitchers overall demonstrated. If you want Miller, you're going to have to offer up comparable value, and a one year rental of the AL Gold Glove/Silver Slugger isn't "comparable". It would take a 2-3 year extension of Hardy to make it even close.

The Cardinals do have Lance Lynn, who is tied with Wainwright for the league lead in wins in 2012-2013 (33). They also have Carlos "little Pedro" Martinez, regarded by many scouts as having the best stuff in the organization. They have Joe Kelly -- the most effective starter on the team after the All Star break. Either Kelly or Lynn would probably be more available than Wacha, Miller, Martinez, or Rosenthal.

Even Lynn or Miller should command more than a one year rental on Hardy.

Going into 2014, the Cardinals rotation depth chart looks like this:

Wainwright, 19-9, 2.94 ERA, 241 IP

Wacha, 4-1, 2.78, 64

Miller,15-9, 3.06, 173

Lynn, 15-10, 3.97, 201

Kelly, 10-5, 2.69, 124

I expect that Martinez, Jaime Garcia (coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum), Siegrist (lefthander who can hit 99), Maness (control pitcher who led major league relievers in double plays), John Gast (2 exceptional starts before requiring shoulder surgery), and Lyons. I didn't include Rosenthal because the Cardinals have already said he's the opening day closer.

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No, what's driving this particular discussion is the irrational overvaluing of their own players by Orioles fans.

Let's not forget that the Cardinals came within 2 wins of the World Championship with Kozma playing shortstop 72% of the time. Yes, the Cardinals do need a better shortstop and I think they're willing to overpay a little to fill that need. They're not desperate and Mozeliak has proven himself willing to stand pat, rather than to make a stupid trade. And yes, trading Miller for Hardy straight up, without an extension, would be exceedingly stupid!

A one year rental of Hardy is nowhere near worth a top of the rotation starter that's already won 15 games his rookie season. Barring injury, Miller should continue to improve and be a frequent contender for the CYA. As with Carpenter and Wainwright, Miller's strongest competitor for the CYA could be his own teammates, Wacha, Martinez, or Rosenthal.

I understand the argument that the Cardinals can simply move another of their talented prospects into the rotation, but it's not a valid argument. They're not going to sell their best prospects just because they have replacements nearly as good. There's no such thing as "too much pitching", as the use of 10 different starters last season, and 25 pitchers overall demonstrated. If you want Miller, you're going to have to offer up comparable value, and a one year rental of the AL Gold Glove/Silver Slugger isn't "comparable". It would take a 2-3 year extension of Hardy to make it even close.

The Cardinals do have Lance Lynn, who is tied with Wainwright for the league lead in wins in 2012-2013 (33). They also have Carlos "little Pedro" Martinez, regarded by many scouts as having the best stuff in the organization. They have Joe Kelly -- the most effective starter on the team after the All Star break. Either Kelly or Lynn would probably be more available than Wacha, Miller, Martinez, or Rosenthal.

Even Lynn or Miller should command more than a one year rental on Hardy.

Going into 2014, the Cardinals rotation depth chart looks like this:

Wainwright, 19-9, 2.94 ERA, 241 IP

Wacha, 4-1, 2.78, 64

Miller,15-9, 3.06, 173

Lynn, 15-10, 3.97, 201

Kelly, 10-5, 2.69, 124

I expect that Martinez, Jaime Garcia (coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum), Siegrist (lefthander who can hit 99), Maness (control pitcher who led major league relievers in double plays), John Gast (2 exceptional starts before requiring shoulder surgery), and Lyons. I didn't include Rosenthal because the Cardinals have already said he's the opening day closer.

As I have clearly stated, if St. Louis is unwilling to pay the premium in value necessary to complete a trade for a top shortstop, they should turn to the free agent market. Expecting another team to trade a top player that they aren't feverishly attempting to rid themselves of in exchange for spare parts adding up to a perceived "equal value" is an exercise in futility. The Orioles have let their price be known. Thus far, the Cardinals have declined. As their options fall by the wayside, the Cardinals need to evaluate what options remain and decide accordingly.

To trade for Hardy, the Cardinals must offer up a clear premium in value. That seems evident. The Orioles are simply don't need to trade with St. Louis.

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No, what's driving this particular discussion is the irrational overvaluing of their own players by Orioles fans.

Let's not forget that the Cardinals came within 2 wins of the World Championship with Kozma playing shortstop 72% of the time. Yes, the Cardinals do need a better shortstop and I think they're willing to overpay a little to fill that need. They're not desperate and Mozeliak has proven himself willing to stand pat, rather than to make a stupid trade. And yes, trading Miller for Hardy straight up, without an extension, would be exceedingly stupid!

A one year rental of Hardy is nowhere near worth a top of the rotation starter that's already won 15 games his rookie season. Barring injury, Miller should continue to improve and be a frequent contender for the CYA. As with Carpenter and Wainwright, Miller's strongest competitor for the CYA could be his own teammates, Wacha, Martinez, or Rosenthal.

I understand the argument that the Cardinals can simply move another of their talented prospects into the rotation, but it's not a valid argument. They're not going to sell their best prospects just because they have replacements nearly as good. There's no such thing as "too much pitching", as the use of 10 different starters last season, and 25 pitchers overall demonstrated. If you want Miller, you're going to have to offer up comparable value, and a one year rental of the AL Gold Glove/Silver Slugger isn't "comparable". It would take a 2-3 year extension of Hardy to make it even close.

The Cardinals do have Lance Lynn, who is tied with Wainwright for the league lead in wins in 2012-2013 (33). They also have Carlos "little Pedro" Martinez, regarded by many scouts as having the best stuff in the organization. They have Joe Kelly -- the most effective starter on the team after the All Star break. Either Kelly or Lynn would probably be more available than Wacha, Miller, Martinez, or Rosenthal.

Even Lynn or Miller should command more than a one year rental on Hardy.

Going into 2014, the Cardinals rotation depth chart looks like this:

Wainwright, 19-9, 2.94 ERA, 241 IP

Wacha, 4-1, 2.78, 64

Miller,15-9, 3.06, 173

Lynn, 15-10, 3.97, 201

Kelly, 10-5, 2.69, 124

I expect that Martinez, Jaime Garcia (coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum), Siegrist (lefthander who can hit 99), Maness (control pitcher who led major league relievers in double plays), John Gast (2 exceptional starts before requiring shoulder surgery), and Lyons. I didn't include Rosenthal because the Cardinals have already said he's the opening day closer.

It all depends on whether the Cards want Hardy to be their SS for the next 4 years at a discount for the first year at $7.5m. Most think that Hardy can be extend. If the Cards want the AL's reigning GG and Silver Slugger awards winner to boost them to the World Series they are going to have to come up with a trade the gets the O's to make that move.

Miller and Freese for Hardy and a mid level prospect may do that.

Otherwise the Cards will probably find their SS elsewhere and the O's will be happy extending Hardy and will work of signing Feldman and trading Wieters.

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Miller and Freese for Hardy and a mid level prospect may do that.

This is crazy. No way are the Cardinals going to do that. Unless your definition of a mid-level prospect is Ed Rodriguez or Schoop, the price is simply too steep for St. Louis to consider. Would you be willing to give up Bundy or Gausman for Headley? Hell no. That's pretty damn close to what you're suggesting here.

Miller and Freese for Hardy, Ed Rodriguez/Schoop and a 10-15 prospect like Bridwell or Berry is more realistic.

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You are really overvaluing your back-up players. It isn't realistic to expect other teams to trade top-flight players for your table scraps.

The Cardinals "table scraps" would be at the top of the Orioles prospects list.

I understand how much prospects can fall short of expectations. The Orioles have been through that again and again. I recall that entering the 2004 season, the Orioles had 3 of the top 15 left-handed prospects (Riley, Bedard, Hanrahan) and a deep stable of right handed prospects as well. Of all those glittering prospects, only Bedard and Maine achieved a minimal level of success.

While the Cardinals organization is deep in quality pitching, they're less flush in position prospects, especially in the middle infield. However, a lot of other teams are woefully short of quality pitching prospects, and some of them will be willing to deal a shortstop for pitching. If not this year, next. The NL pennant winner is hardly in a position of desperation. If no reasonable deals are available, they have the patience to stand pat.

The Cardinals also have considerable depth in third base prospects. Either Matt Carpenter or Daniel Descalso can play superior defense than Freese and could hold down third until one of the prospects.

Miller, Wacha, Rosenthal, and Oscar Taveres are believed to be nearly "untouchable". Better look elsewhere if you're desperate to get something for Hardy before he hits free agency. I have no special insight into the Cardinals front office but I doubt very much if they'll go in this direction.

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This is crazy. No way are the Cardinals going to do that. Unless your definition of a mid-level prospect is Ed Rodriguez or Schoop, the price is simply too steep for St. Louis to consider. Would you be willing to give up Bundy or Gausman for Headley? Hell no. That's pretty damn close to what you're suggesting here.

Miller and Freese for Hardy, Ed Rodriguez/Schoop and a 10-15 prospect like Bridwell or Berry is more realistic.

There is a simple solution. Don't make the trade. Keep Silver Slugger and Gold Gold winner Hardy unless the O's get ready value back. Miller has been pitching to 7 batters in a lineup. He can pitch around the 8th batter and pitch to the pitchers. In the AL East he has to pitch to 9 batters. That will require a step up for him. Freese is coming off a bad year and may be replaced by Carpenter and Wong anyway. Meanwhile Hardy is at the top of the league with both hitting and fielding at his position. The O's don't need to include one of their top prospect. Hardy is clearly the prize of this deal and he is at a discount price for the first year.

Personally, I would be happy to keep Hardy for another 3 to 4 years.

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Hardy is a nice trade chip -- he isn't worth a top 20 prospect in all of baseball, which is what Miller would be if still eligible.

Fine. No deal then. Again, where is no reason for the Orioles to accept equal value here. If St. Louis isn't willing to pay the premium necessary to get the Orioles to pull the trigger, both teams can move on. As far as I can tell, the Orioles already have.

The Orioles are certainly not pressed to find a deal with St. Louis. Keeping Hardy, working to negotiate an extension for him, and either signing or trading elsewhere for pitching is a logical and viable alternative for the Orioles. Trading Hardy for the Cardinals' spare parts is not, IMO.

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Ask yourself if you'd be willing to trade Bundy for one year of Hardy. That's roughly what you think the Cardinals should do.

Its not the same context. If Bundy, Gausman and Tillman were all pitching well with three other very good starter candidates behind them and I needed a top of line SS to get be to the World Series then I would probably make the trade. If you want a SS at the top of his game you have to trade value to get him.

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Well, he's a FA after this year, so it's no slam dunk. Why hasn't he been extended already?

Because there was not reason to extend him with two years on this contract. Boras is not his agent. He signed a reasonable extension before. He will probably be reasonable again whether he is an Oriole or a Card. Both are organizations he would be probably be proud to be a part of.

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Fine. No deal then. Again, where is no reason for the Orioles to accept equal value here. If St. Louis isn't willing to pay the premium necessary to get the Orioles to pull the trigger, both teams can move on. As far as I can tell, the Orioles already have.

The Orioles are certainly not pressed to find a deal with St. Louis. Keeping Hardy, working to negotiate an extension for him, and either signing or trading elsewhere for pitching is a logical and viable alternative for the Orioles. Trading Hardy for the Cardinals' spare parts is not, IMO.

Some of the Cardinals spare parts would be big (and cheap) upgrades for Baltimore. One year of a strong defender, good power, poor on-base shortstop just isn't worth six years of a young, potential front end arm. If that's what Baltimore is demanding in return (I am sure it's not if they actually would like to move Hardy) then he'll be with Baltimore in 2014.

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Its not the same context. If Bundy, Gausman and Tillman were all pitching well with three other very good starter candidates behind them and I needed a top of line SS to get be to the World Series then I would probably make the trade. If you want a SS at the top of his game you have to trade value to get him.

I think the harsh reality is that "the top of Hardy's game" for one year isn't worth someone like Shelby Miller.

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