A little intradivisional update after the Cubs beat the Cardinals last night, avoiding the sweep and effectuating a two-game swing in the standings for the Cardinals (had they won, they’d be 6.0 games back … but instead are now 8.0 games back).
As Derrick Goold writes, the Cardinals are not necessarily full-on selling and are still thinking short-term, but it seems clear they aren’t looking to make a serious run this year, and instead could trade away some important pieces:
The Cardinals remain engaged in a variety of talks with teams as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches. Their focus is to acquire players who will augment the team for 2019, not just the immediate future. They are open to discussing offers for closer Bud Norris, who has a one-year contract, and for Jose Martinez, who will make close to the minimum again next season but does not have a guaranteed position.
Norris is the team’s closer in an otherwise ugly bullpen, which the club has been trying to reshape in recent days. Trading him away would be a pretty clear signal that the Cardinals deem themselves toast this season.
As for Martinez, he’s been struggling to find playing time, despite his quality bat, because he has no position he can play adequately. Look for the Cardinals to market him aggressively to the AL, where he could be a very cheap DH option for a few more years.
Even Cardinals’ GM Michael Girsch concedes they’ll be looking at deals that improve them for the longer-term future (Cardinals.com): “If we can get something that we think makes sense, we’re not done. We’re looking at things that help us as an organization beyond just this year. We hope they help us this year, as well. But we’re looking at it with a long-term [lens].”