Many inside of baseball are indicating that the St. Louis Cardinals have been actively shopping one of their right-handed starting pitchers. The name in question, however, might be simply a red herring.
Before diving in, let me instantly admit that all of the following article is simply my own supposition and conspiracy theory. I have not heard nor read anything that definitively lead me to this theory but I find myself questioning whether the St. Louis Cardinals‘ shopping of Michael Wacha is red herring.
Let me explain, a red herring is a clue that is intentionally misleading and, while shopping Wacha might be a good idea, I find myself wondering if Mozeliak has other plans. Listen, Mozeliak is very skilled at political talk and I have written before that I don’t trust the words out of his mouth until I see signatures on lines preceded with an “X.”
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The above statements are not meant to be admonishing but rather a recognition that Mozeliak is good at this aspect of his job: he never (or rarely) shows his hand. Many inside of Cardinals Nation would probably argue that Mozeliak isn’t good at his job and is slow to act. I feel that we fans are just merely not privy to the inner workings and Mozeliak stay quiet normally until something happens.
This then has me wondering how/why the floating of Wacha’s name has circulated so far… Is Wacha actually on the move? Let me state that I do believe that Mo is shopping Wacha but I’m just not convinced that Wacha is actually the one to be on the move. Instead, I find myself believing that Wacha is being used as a litmus test.
Brace yourself, Cardinals Nation, but I find myself believing more and more that the real carrot being dangled (or being thought of to be dangled) is Alex Reyes. My prediction is that Mo is testing the market’s desires by shooting Wacha out there only to test the desire for someone like Reyes.
Imagine the uproar and unending phone calls should Mozeliak dangle Reyes? Also, with a power piece like Reyes, I have to imagine that a GM would be foolish to let other teams know that they are willing to part until they aligned the stars. Is this what Mo is doing?
It would not surprise me to see Reyes depart during the winter meetings for someone like outfielder A.J. Pollock (plus prospects) or third baseman Nolan Arenado or even starting pitcher Chris Sale.
Let’s look at some data. These are Pollock’s offensive numbers:
Would you take either of these in exchange for Reyes? Would you trade off Reyes for Sale?
That said, I would also not be surprised to see a deal such as Luke Weaver (and possibly some additional names) for a Marcell Ozuna. To this point, Ozuna could be had for Wacha plus Jaime Garcia which feels like a very “St. Louis Cardinals like deal” to me.
In closing, let me respond to some other theories and comments. Let me be clear, we would all love to see the St. Louis Cardinals shop Matt Adams, some would love to see Seth Maness shopped, others would love to see Jhonny Peralta moved, and even still others would part with Marco Gonzales. These would be good, yes, but they just might not hold enough value today.
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All-in-all Mozeliak is surely busy. I feel a move coming but I’m just not sure that Michael Wacha is the move that we are being led to believe. Some move is coming and let us admit that none of us really know what this is- one of value, one of players without value, none of these- and we won’t until it is done and confirmed.