Feb. 18: Q of the Day
The depth the Cardinals own is definitely something quite valuable, if not necessary. At what point will the value of trading the depth outweigh the value of hoarding it? When some of that depth is dealt, are the Cardinals more likely to trade for future prospects to restock the farm system or a star?
— Stephen M., Jackson Tenn.
If ever there was a season that demonstrated the necessity of depth, it was 2013. Think about all the young players (particularly pitchers) who filled holes on the Cardinals’ roster last season. Without contributions from the likes of Kevin Siegrist, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Seth Maness, etc., the Cardinals do not hoist a National League pennant.
But your question about hoarding vs. selling is an interesting one, and it was a discussion the Cardinals’ brass had at length over the offseason. They had the chips to go deal for a premier shortstop, for instance, but eventually decided that landing a star shortstop at the expense of letting multiple young players go was not worth the cost. That decision likely changes if the Cardinals did not think there was a comparable option (in this case, Jhonny Peralta) on the free-agent market. By going after Peralta, the Cardinals upgraded at shortstop while also retaining all of their young talent. This is the ideal scenario.
There will be a time, though, where a need becomes best addressed through a trade and at that point the Cardinals will have to do a cost-benefit analysis. Young players/prospects are valued much more in today’s system of baseball economics than they were even a decade ago, so the Cardinals will be careful in what they give up.
When it comes time to replenish Minor League depth, the Cardinals are likely to do that primarily through the draft and international markets, which the organization expects to now tap into more frequently. Their in-season trades are typically made with a win-now mentality, unless the club were to have an uncompetitive season.
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