Last week I presented a 2-part series on the top 12 players in the Cardinals’ system in terms of their trade value. Now, with the trade deadline fast approaching and the Cards’ playoff hopes getting further and further away, I wanted to explore the odds of different players being traded at this year’s trade deadline. So, we’ll look at their odds of being traded by July 31 or, since players can be traded throughout the remainder of the season as long as they clear waivers, we’ll also look at those players. We’re not going to make any real guesses about who might be moved this offseason since there are still a lot of variables that could affect those transactions.
1. Bud Norris. Odds – 1:1.
Why he will be traded – he’s a free agent at the end of the season and has performed well out of the Cards’ bullpen this season. Every potential playoff team is always looking for bullpen help down the stretch and in the postseason and Norris has shown that he could fill any number of different roles for a team. Plus, he’s earning just $3 million this season and the Cardinals surely have no intention of making him the qualifying offer this offseason.
Why he won’t be traded – in case you’re not aware, the Cardinals’ bullpen has been a steaming pile of horse apples this season and Norris and Jordan Hicks have been the only 2 truly dependable relievers. The team will still need to get outs after the 5th inning and preserve leads and, as a free agent at the end of the season, Norris doesn’t figure to bring too much of a return. On the trade value series, he was only listed as an “honorable mention” because of the limited return he will provide. Still, I think he goes.
2. Jose Martinez. Odds – 1:1.
Why he will be traded – the way Martinez has struck the ball over the last nearly 2 years has shown everyone around the game what he is capable of doing at the plate. Unfortunately, the way he has played defense has shown the Cardinals that Martinez is suited to be a DH and the team really has no roster spot for him. He’s under team control and can provide a much better return than Norris can (he’s listed as #7 on the trade value list). Despite being a defensive liability, there have to be several AL teams both in the pennant chase and out of it who could use a hitter like Martinez in their lineups.
Why he won’t be traded – he will be. No, seriously, the dude can hit and is cheap. It’s conceivable that the team will decide to just go with him at first base (even though they’ve been replacing him for defense at the end of games) because the offense has struggled so much this year. It’s possible I’m overestimating the trade value of a guy who is so compromised defensively that the team will just decide to stick it out and see what he can do. But, no, he’ll be traded.
3. Jedd Gyorko. Odds – 5:1.
Why he will be traded – Jedd’s a good hitter and has a lot of versatility that would be of value to any team, especially a contender. He’s got power that is in demand by everyone and that most infielders don’t have. He also has a very reasonable contract that has him under team control through 2020. From the Cards’ perspective, there are reports that the team would like to get less right-handed in its batting order and it has become pretty clear that Yairo Munoz can pretty much do what Gyorko has done for the last 3 seasons, only for less money. He was listed at #11 on our trade value series so he could bring back a decent piece.
Why he won’t be traded – he’s been sick recently and hasn’t played much since the All-Star break and hasn’t played very well since April (87 wRC+ in May and just a 12 wRC+ in June), though he’s been better in July. If he doesn’t go in July, I think he goes this offseason but the recent illness and lack of playing time may reduce the likelihood of him being traded now.
4. Greg Holland. Odds – 6:1.
Why he will be traded – He’s a reliever who’s a free agent and the Cardinals have no intention of making the qualifying offer. He’s been really bad and, unlike Norris, won’t present the Cardinals with the impression that they may need him to get outs down the stretch. Because of his salary he’ll definitely clear waivers and some team is liable to be desperate for relief help in August. He’s definitely gone.
Why he won’t be traded – because no team will take him. I’d be stunned if he finishes the season in a Cardinals’ uniform and so really the only chance that he’s not traded to another team is if he’s been so bad that no team will take him and he ends up just being DFA’d. I still have hope that he can have 3-4 decent outings that the team could trade him for something but the likelihood is that he ends up just being DFA’d.
5. Carlos Martinez. Odds – 10:1.
Why he will be traded – he has the highest trade value of any Cardinal – probably $70 million in surplus value throughout the remainder of his contract plus all the extra value he can provide a team in the postseason. The team’s pitching depth gives the organization the freedom to trade Martinez to improve its bullpen and position players. The Yankees are known to be desperate for starting pitching and the Padres are also looking for a top-of-the-rotation guy. Both teams have substantial depth in terms of prospects they could trade. Mo has used the word “arbitrage” and the Cardinals are known to have been very interested in the Rays’ Chris Archer in the past. Trading Martinez for prospects and then turning around and trading others for Archer might interest them. If the Cards really want to overhaul their roster, trading Martinez is the easiest way to make that happen.
Why he won’t be traded – he’s been on the DL twice this season and is on the DL right now. He’ll make just 1 start before the trade deadline (though his being able to come off the DL on July 30 increases the likelihood of his being traded; could this be a showcase of sorts?) and has had somewhat of a roller coaster season. It would be much easier to trade him and overhaul their roster in the offseason but I’m becoming increasingly confident that the team will end up trading Martinez either in the next week or in the offseason.
6. Miles Mikolas. Odds – 20:1.
Why he will be traded – if the team truly wants to get started on their retooling process, trading Mikolas (#8 in trade value) now might be the way to go. Starting pitchers are always in demand at the trade deadline and his affordable contract would be of value to anyone. The Cards have starting pitching depth and Mikolas is a free agent at the end of next season. He might re-sign with the team but signed the short contract specifically so he could be a free agent again sooner.
Why he won’t be traded – he’s been the team’s best pitcher this season and will probably be needed if the team intends to contend next season. As a guy with a short MLB track record who is a free agent in just 16 months, he’s not that valuable to any team – not like Martinez would be, for example. Ultimately, I think the Cards keep him but the team should definitely explore what they could get if they traded him. The team has enough rotation depth to withstand losing him, in my view.
7. Dexter Fowler. Odds – 40:1.
Why he will be traded – he’s been bad and the team has outfielders. Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader need to be given the opportunity to see if they can be part of the team’s future. It might be time to move on.
Why he won’t be traded – he’s been bad and is in just year 2 of a 5 year deal. The team would have to eat most of the contract to get rid of him and they’d get very little in return. It would be selling low and it’s not at all clear that anyone else would want him right now. It’s possible, and he could definitely move in August, but not at all likely.
8. Everyone else. Odds – 100:1.
I guess it’s possible that Tommy Pham could be traded, but that’s not likely. I could see Marcell Ozuna on the move but that would really be selling low. There’s very little upside to doing that. If the team does some sort of arbitrage trade involving Chris Archer, we could see O’Neill, Carson Kelly, and maybe Luke Weaver on the move. Matt Bowman or Brett Cecil could be DFA’d but I’d be very surprised if they were traded. The other high value guys on the trade value list – DeJong, Hicks, Flaherty – I’d be stunned if they’re traded.
Thanks as always to the great @cardinalsgifs for the great pic and thanks to you all for reading.