Did Mo and the Front Office pass or fail?
Well, the trade deadline has come and gone. True to what John Mozealik said the Cardinals made some trades as sellers this year. Not usually the position they find themselves in.
Six Cardinal players now have new homes None of the moves were shocking as the Cardinals attempted to address pitching with an eye on 2024. The priority was to get more Swing-and-miss pitching, hopefully for the rotation. The second was for an organizational depth that could facilitate trades in the off-season.
The question is, did they?
Let's find out.
The first real trade was,
Jordan Hicks to Toronto for minor league pitchers Adam Kloffenstien and Sem Robberse both right-handers.
Kloffenstien is 22 and fits the swing-and-miss or high-strikeout pitcher. Currently, this season in AAA he is averaging 9.73 K/9. innings despite having an average velocity. He also has a 50%ground ball rate which is a big plus with the Cardinal Infield defense. He has had a control issue and If he can get that part of his game in line, he is projected as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Robberse is 21 with a low 90's fastball and an average slider. He has a decent k/9 rate right around 8.7, but his lower velocity is susceptible to the Home Run. He has given up 14 homers in 18 games at AA New Hampshire. He is another back-end rotation type. Now Robberse is listed by MLB as the #6 prospect in the Cardinal farm system putting him ahead of Michael McGreavy and while you could make that argument I think it might be sketchy.
I was thinking of saying incomplete but I calling this a C maybe a B-. While organizational depth was achieved and the swing-and-miss factor is there for both prospects Looking at 2024 I think Kloffenstien is probably the more ready of the two IF he can get his velocity up some.
Jordan Montgomery via USA Today Chris Stratton vi St. Louis Cardinals
Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton to Texas for LH John King, Prospects SS Thomas Saggese, and RH Tekoah Roby
King is 28 and an average Bullpen arm with a fairly high ERA and WHIP. Somewhat sucep[taible to the Home Run giving up 11 in 128 innings over his 4 year MLB career. Not a big swing-and-miss pitcher with a low-to-mid-90s fastball. He does have a good ground ball rate at 57%. I really can't see him having much of an impact in St Louis in 2024.
Saggese 21, a right-handed hitting Infielder described as a potentially good hitter If he can get better at plate discipline and he can gain some strength he has the potential of a 20 HR type. Defensively he has played third, short, and second, with the latter being his best defensive position. Much like current Redbirds Brendan Donovan and Tommy EdmanI think it is more for organizational depth.
Roby 21, is highly touted and since coming to the Cardinals is ranked as their #4 prospect by MLBpipeline. His ERA is deceptive career 4.47 but he has a decent WHIP of 1.225 and a very good K/9 rate of 11. At 21 years old he is already in AA. For a young pitcher, he has a 4 pitch arsenal; a fastball that can reach 96, A high spin curve with a down break, and a lateral moving change-up that goes opposite of his slider at about the same low 80s Velo. He has had some control issues, with missing in the middle of the zone which makes him vulnerable to the long ball. It is hard to imagine him being of any help to the Cardinals next season as he needs to continue to develop his pitches and establish true out pitch. Unless there are significant injuries to the staff, I don't see Roby having an impact in 2024.
I think for what we gave up in Monty I would have liked to have seen more immediate or closer help than King. But when you are dealing with rental players the value degrades a little. But I think we fell short of value here. So, I am giving this deal a C-. It has the potential to be a C+ or B If Roby can progress as they say and contribute by 2025 then there is value here.
Paul DeJong goes to Toronto for Matt Svanson.
This move feels like a trade to make roster space and unclog somewhat the infield. I think it was almost a given at least to me that DeJong was seeing his last season as a member of the Cardinals. So when he was dealt it came as no shock.
Svason is a 24-year-old Right-hander with an up-and-down history in the minors. He has been a starter but mostly for the last two years he has been coming out of the pen. unlike many of the other prospects St Louis got he is not a top-30 prospect. Of the 55 prospects moved at the deadline he was ranked 54th. So while most may be happy to be rid of Paul DeJong (which I believe is somewhat short-sighted but understandable.) I am not sure we got real value in this deal, but with the injury history of DeJong, Not sure how much more you could have got. I give the deal a C
Jack Flaherty to Baltimore for Cesar Prieto (SS), Drew Rom(LHP), and Zack Showalter(RHP). I think this is probably the best deal of the bunch.
Prieto 24 has been touted as having good bat-to-ball skills coming out of Cuba. But it didn't carry over last year in the Minors but he did show some surprising power with 7 homers in 97 at-bats at high A Aberdeen. When he moved to AA the power subsided to just 4 homers in 368 ABs. This year however has been different as he has brought his average up 75 points from last year and showing that he still can go deep. Prieto can play both third and second with solid defense and has the athleticism to play SS which has drawn a comparison to Brendan Donovan in terms of his positional play and hitting. He is someone who could see time next year depending on off-season moves.
Rom 23 is rated as the #26 Prospect in the Cardinal system since being traded over from Baltimore. I am not sure how that is figured considering since 2021 his numbers are not progressing but regressing. His ERA, WHIP, and walk rate climbed over the last two years, while his ground ball rate has gone down.
But he is a strikeout pitcher averaging nearly 11 Ks per game. with a low 90s fastball and 80 mph slurve and Split-change pitch. I see him as still at least a year maybe two years out depending on development he could be a middle to back-of-the-rotation type. If he could increase his Velo could be a solid #2
One player who was considered a throw-in,
Showalter 19 was an 11th-round draft choice by Baltimore last season. So far this year in Rookie and A ball he has had 8 starts covering 27.1 innings. He has a 1.98 ERA, a 1.244 WHIP, and 12.5 SO/9. An interesting factoid he has faced 116 batters this season striking out 38 which is almost 33%. I will be very interested in how this young man develops.
Overall this trade has good potential particularly if Showalter can at least maintain the pace he is on. I think Rom does have potential as a back-end/ long relief. Prieto could give the Organization some support and adequate fill should a trade of Edman or Donovan happen and with that high ceiling of Showalter I say This is a solid B+ maybe A-.
For an overall grade, right NOW I would say it is a C. However Kloffenstien and Robberese can get their Velos up it could make it to a B- and if Roby develops a little better location for his pitches could accelerate his time table I could see a B+
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