The St. Louis Cardinals only had one acquisition at the deadline, but they are in much better shape than before.
The 2016 MLB trade deadline was an exciting one. There were many blockbuster deals which featured names like Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller Jonathon Lucroy, and Carlos Beltran. While the trade market was swirling, Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak took a day off. Though Mo did not make a lot of noise at the deadline, the Cardinals’ chances of playing in October are now dramatically improved.
It is time for Cardinals fans to admit that they are not going to win the division. The Cubs are too good of a team to collapse and with their recent acquisitions of Chapman, they have no weakness. The Cardinals find themselves eight games back of the Cubs with 57 games left to go. On the other hand, the Wild Card is a realistic goal. The Cardinals are only a half game back of the Marlins for the second Wild Card spot, having one less win and the same amount of losses. They are competing with a Clayton Kershaw-less Dodgers team, a very beatable Marlins team, a Mets team with a historically bad offense, and a Pittsburgh Pirates team that just traded away their #2 starter and closer.
The Dodgers are plagued with injuries right now. Kershaw, Andre Either, Alex Wood, Brett Anderson and Hyun-Jin Ryu are all on the disabled list. They are currently 3 games ahead of the Cardinals for the first Wild Card spot. At the deadline, they acquired Josh Reddick to replace Yasiel Puig, Rich Hill to solidify their rotation, Josh Fields and Jesse Chavez to bolster their bullpen. Reddick is only an upgrade to Puig with his attitude. Hill hasn’t pitched since July 7th and was placed on the DL before he was traded. Chavez and Fields have both ERA over 4.50. While the Dodgers look to have better themselves, they are really in no better situation than they were a week ago.
The Miami Marlins acquired Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea who they sent back to the Padres because of his arm troubles. Cashner holds a 4.54 ERA on the season and does not upgrade their rotation in anyway.
The New York Mets acquired Jay Bruce from the Reds in a blockbuster deal. The Mets are the Cardinals biggest competition for the Wild Card spot. The Mets’ starting pitching is one of the best in baseball and with adding Bruce into their lineup, they could be a serious threat down the stretch.
The Pittsburgh Pirates traded away Francisco Liriano as well as Mark Melancon and will not be able to compete down the stretch without those two.
Now I know what you’re thinking, if all of these teams remained the same, how are the Cardinals in a better spot?
First, the Cardinals schedule is now substantially easier. Their division opponent the Reds and Brewers unloaded their superstars in an effort to rebuild. They have 12 games remaining with the Reds and 6 with the Brewers. They also have 6 games remaining with the Pirates. The Redbirds usually fair well against the Pirates this season, but without those crucial pieces, other guys will have to step up in order to compete.
Second, the Cardinals addressed their weakness: their bullpen. Now, the acquisition of Duke wasn’t huge, but it’s what they needed. The veteran lefty has posted a 2.63 ERA this season and will be an asset for Matheny to use in his arsenal. Duke will be a good asset against left-handed hitters. Duke also allows the Cardinals to use Siegrist exclusively as a set up man and helps them shorten games.
— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) August 1, 2016
The Cardinals have a very good chance to make the postseason in 2016. 57 games remain on the schedule to grab one of two Wild Card spots. If the Cardinals continue to play well, there is no reason they will not be playing in October.