Overestimating Their Hand?

The Cardinals had a great weekend, taking three of four from the division leading Milwaukee Brewers, winning two games with multiple runs in their last at bat, getting a win for Anthony Reyes finally. They even pulled within 6 games of the division lead. Apparently, that was enough to change management’s default setting from selling to perhaps buying at today’s trade deadline. But is that a good idea? Has anything really changed?

Six games is still a pretty good row to hoe for a team that has only one 4 games in a row one time this year. Granted, with Adam Wainwright on the mound tonight, they’ve got a good chance to win it and have 5 wins in their last 6 games. They still have 6 games against the Brewers and 7 against the Cubs. So there are possibilities, but unless the team plays inspired baseball after this weekend’s dramatics, it seems like it might be a winning streak at the worst possible time.

It’s hard to say that you should scrap the season and start looking to the future. I mean, it’s a young Brewers team that’s already coming back to the pack and the Cubs who historically have had their issues down the stretch. And if this team could start to put it together, get some of that October magic back, maybe they could make a run.

But without Carpenter, how likely is a run really? The Cards might get a boost late in the year if Mark Mulder makes a return, but you don’t know what kind of Mulder you’ll be getting. Mike Maroth still hasn’t gotten things figured out, if this weekend was any indication, and I’d think he’s about one blowup away from staying in the bullpen, though I don’t know which reliever would move up to the rotation.

The pitching is improving, the offense seems to be waking up. Scott Rolen should schedule cortisone shots on a bi-weekly basis the rest of the year, if they are going to boost his bat this much. Albert is Albert, and he’d make any team dangerous. Chris Duncan is providing pop and Juan Encarnacion has been hot.

So there are a lot of factors in favor of making a run. But I don’t think the consistency is there for this team to actually get over the hump, and I’m afraid there will be a short-sighted deal of some young players for a “veteran” that may or may not make an impact.

Sometimes, you have to make a stand and say “We’ve got to rebuild, we’re not chasing after fairy tales.” The relievers in the pen could probably bring in some young promising players, as could perhaps Encarnacion and Eckstein. Should everyone be dealt? No, but if you’ve got a chance to get a good player, I think you should be pulling the trigger. Take for example yesterday’s deal of Mark Teixeira to the Braves. Even if the Rangers were on the fringes of the race, that was a deal they probably should have done because it will make them better longer. Tough to sell that to fans with a short-term instant gratification complex, but it’s really the best idea for the long-term health of the organization.

All this is probably moot. With the trade market the way it is these days, the odds of Walt making a big deal either way is pretty slim. Of course, he’s been known to do big things after the waiver deadline (Woody Williams, Larry Walker) but I think the deadline will come and go today and the roster of the Cardinals, for good or bad, will be the same.


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