In the midst of this season high eight game winning streak all the talk of the Cardinals needing to add a piece seemed to be dying down. Atleast until late lastnight when the Redbirds became one of the main contenders to land Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt before the July 31 trade deadline.
Sure, I would love to see the Cards add Oswalt to an already stellar rotation that already has Chris Carpenter (11-3), Adam Wainwright (14-5), and Jaime Garcia (9-4). Making this move would solidify the Cardinals rotation that has gotten anything but consistency from the backend since the loss of Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse. Going farther than that, I would take that rotation in any playoff series. Even against the Yankees.
The Cardinals have suddenly appeared to have an abundance of outfielders with the emergence on Jon Jay and Allen Craig as viable options. Not to mention Nick Stavinoah who has played well at times during his tenure here in St. Louis. And of course we can’t forget Ryan Ludwick who is currenty on the DL and will be set to come off in the near future. We also have a nice young pitching prospect in Shelby Miller who the Cardinals could include in this deal. So it is clear the Redbirds have the pieces but the other side of this deal may be more important: MONEY.
Every move the Cards make in the coming future will have to be a part of a carefully built financial plan. Bernie Miklasz, who writes for the St. Louis Post Dispatch had a very telling tweet on this subject: “If Ludwick gets a raise, Cards have around $85 million committed to 10 players for 2011. Oswalt is guaranteed $16 mil in ’11. Tough $ fit.”
The 2012 number for Pujols is just speculation at this point, but you know he will get one of those megabucks contracts similar to one Ryan Howard signed. If you take on Oswalt, who said he won’t waive his no-trade if the team won’t take on all of his options, that limits the Cardinals in what other moves they can make going forward. That’s a pretty expensive rotation to field during the first year of that megabucks contract. The Cards would have $69M committed to players not named Albert Pujols. Pujols would have to be willing to accept less than $20M/season if they really are considering making this move. Which in my opinion is far from likely. That would be horribly underpaying the best player in baseball.
As much as I would love to see the Cards bring Oswalt to St. Louis I just don’t see how we can afford to take on that much money. Simply put, Oswalt doesn’t fit the Cards financial puzzle.