ATLANTA • While stressing that he didn’t see a deal at the deadline in the future given the current market, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said he didn’t want to make an “incremental” addition and that a significant move would require a significant prospect, a price the Cardinals wanted to avoid paying.
“We get the price of playing poker,” Mozeliak said. “I would say I don’t feel that right now we’re close to doing anything at this point. Things may change. I would say that we’re not looking just to do something incrementally. … We understand that if we really want our team to get better there’s going to be a cost.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is Wednesday afternoon.
As it approaches, the Cardinals have been looking at starting pitchers and experienced relievers. Shortstop has been a position the Cardinals have monitored since winter. The team scouted White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, who reportedly packed up his locker Sunday morning in expectation of a trade. The Cardinals have flexibility to add salary to this year’s payroll and their preference would be to acquire a player who is under control for at least next season. But the market has changed so that a team willing to take on dollars doesn’t necessarily get a price break when it comes to prospects.
With so many teams still believing they are in the wild-card race this late in the season and so few teams looking to shed players, teams are asking for more talent, especially when it comes to starting pitching.
“I think that’s the biggest change, too – the economics of the trade deadline,” Mozeliak said. “Five, 10 years ago, that would be one of the indicators of a team looking to sell – to break up their club for more financial freedom. Now it seems like that isn’t much of a push. It’s like buying. They’re buying talent with that salary (they’ll trade).”
The Cardinals have depth on the left side of the bullpen in Marc Rzepczynski and Sam Freeman when it comes to potential assets. Mozeliak said he sees clearly how prospects Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha, two top pitching talents, could make September contributions to a playoff push. Martinez started Sunday night for Class AAA Memphis and he struck out Manny Ramirez, former All-Star turned Rangers’ minor-leaguer.
As many as seven scouts from opposing teams were in attendance, including representatives from Philadelphia, San Diego, Kansas City, and Toronto. The reeling Phillies have reportedly discussed moving lefty Cliff Lee before the deadline. The Padres are reportedly fielding offers for reliever Luke Gregerson, a former Cardinal who has flourished in late innings with San Diego.
It's not clear which -- if any -- scouts attended the Triple-A game on a deadline assignment or on a scheduled tour.
Mozeliak said while the Cardinals have pitchers who have attracted the attention of other clubs he is “not looking at ways to erode that just for minimal, short-term gain.”
An impact addition would be different “if we feel it’s the right piece,” he said.
“If you want to take away a line it’s we’re probably not likely going to do much, right now,” Mozeliak said, adding the necessary qualifier. “It just doesn’t feel like we have anything that compelling. It’s not like we have 29 other teams all willing to deal. There’s only a small group of teams and it might not be a fit for our organization. There will be movement, sure. But it just might not be with us.”
WAINWRIGHT LAUNCHES ‘WAINO’S WORLD’
Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright has always wanted to turn one of his passions, fantasy football, into a charitable endeavor. Today, Wainwright launches Waino’s World of Fantasy Football and will debut a website (www.wainosworld.com) that will offer 44 spots in four different leagues that will each feature a Cardinals player. The entry fee is $2,500 per person and all of the money generated will be split between two charities, St. Louis’ Operation Food Search and Water Missions International.
Matt Holliday, David Freese, Allen Craig and Wainwright will run a team in each of the four leagues. They will attend a live draft with all of the 44 participants on Aug. 23 at Busch Stadium. “I think this idea can be something special,” he said. “Because we want to start small and do something really well before we grow it, we’re going to start in St. Louis. My final goal is to eventually have every team in every big-league city represented in this.”
Joe Kelly, fresh from 6 1/3 shutout innings Saturday, was announced as the probable starter for Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh. Matheny suggested that Kelly, who will be making his fourth consecutive appearance as a starter, is ready to throw 100 pitches, if needed. … Center fielder Tommy Pham was placed on the Class AAA Memphis disabled list with a shoulder injury that could require surgery. Pham, 25, reached Triple-A this season and was batting .286 overall this summer at two levels. … To avoid a late night before his start today against the Pirates, Jake Westbrook flew to Pittsburgh on Sunday evening. … A day after his demotion, Brock Peterson started at first base in Memphis’ lineup.