Trading with your rivals is uncommon, but the Cardinals might just need to explore this option…
In sports, it is not common that a team will make a trade with their rivals. Teams do not want to see their rivals succeed and are not willing to help them win. Division rivals play each other 18 times in a season and do not want to give the other team a player who can hurt them in the long run. The Cardinals and Cubs have one of the oldest rivalries in baseball. Since 1980, the Cardinals and Cubs have only made three trades with each other, the last being in 2002.
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak and Cubs General Manager Theo Epstein will almost certainly not be looking to help each other out especially with 9 games left on the schedule against each other. Unfortunately for them, they are perfect trade partners.
As painful as it is to say as a Cardinals fan, the Cubs are the best team in baseball. That being say, right now the Cubs do not have a World Series winning team. Even though they have the best offense in the league backed by a pitching staff that is overarching beyond belief, they are missing the most important aspect of a playoff team: a dominant bullpen. The 2015 Kansas City Royals won the World Series by using their dominate bullpen. The 2014, 2012, and 2010 Giants won on pitching. Especially in the National League, where the luxury of a designated hitter does not exist, owning a shutdown bullpen is an essential.
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) June 24, 2016
The Cubs bullpen is not tested much usually, but when tested, its’ weaknesses glare. They have blown 13 out of 18 save opportunity, 2 of which are the responsibility of closer Hector Rondon.
It is evident that Cardinals fans are tired of Trevor Rosenthal. Seung-hwan Oh has been sensational this season and has plenty of experience closing in Japan. Kevin Siegrist also deserves an opportunity to close after posting a 2.76 ERA on the season with an opponent batting average of .180.
Rosenthal has a 4.50 ERA on the season. He has let 5 out of 12 inherited runners score and has simply not been as dominate as he used to be. He holds a terrible 7.50 base on balls per 9 innings. Rosenthal also averages 21.3 pitches per inning, meaning he has not been able to close out games in an efficient matter and when he can get the save, he is not able to pitch the next day because the threw too many pitches.
In return, the Cardinals should ask for Dexter Fowler. Fowler is a switch hitting leadoff hitter which the Cardinals need. They lack switch hitters and need a leadoff hitter. Currently, Matt Carpenter leads off and while he is a very good hitter, he is not a true leadoff hitter. Fowler is also an everyday outfielder, the Cardinals weakest position. The Cubs would be willing to part ways with Fowler to create room for their rookie phenom,
The Cardinals would be able to create more value for Rosenthal than Fowler and would probably be able to acquire a mid value prospect. Fowler possesses a one year deal that attracts little value, while Rosenthal’s contract locks him up for at least another two years.
The Cardinals have big time prospect bullpen arms that they can replace Rosenthal in the future with. Marco Gonzales is current a specialist but can develop into a full time setup man or potentially a closer. The Cardinals also have Sam Tuivailala who is considered a big time prospect. He can throw in the upper 90s while still developing a power off speed pitch.
In the end, the Cardinals and Cubs will never make a big move with each other. Both teams will be competing for the division and will not want to bolster each others roster. Both teams need to make a move before the deadline and whichever one does, will probably have the upper hand.
Photo captured by Jeff Curry- USA Today Sports