The remaining three games in the Yankees series against the A’s just got easier as the A’s have traded their best hitter, Matt Holliday, to the Cardinals for a trio of prospects including third baseman Brett “The Walrus” Wallace. This just hours before SI.com posted my Trade Talk post about the biggest offensive holes on contending teams heading into the trading deadline. The Cardinals’ left-field situation was originally fifth on my list:
5) Cardinals, LF
Production to date: .211/.293/.333 (64 sOPS+)
League average LF: .262/.338/.427
The Guilty (VORP): Chris Duncan (-1.5), Rick Ankiel (-7.3), Nelson Stavinoha (-3.2)
The Targets: Matt Holliday (25.9), Magglio Ordoñez (-0.3)
The Cardinals have already traded for sometime left fielder Mark DeRosa, but he was supposed to fill their hole at third base (.219/.291/.355, 72) and is currently on the DL. They also just acquired Julio Lugo from the Red Sox, for Duncan no less. If the plan is for Lugo to play shortstop with Joe Thurston and Brendan Ryan platooning at second, thereby allowing Skip Schumaker, whom I listed as the worst defensive second baseman in baseball earlier this week, to return to the outfield, then they might be done. If not, they could pull the same trick with even better results by acquiring a second baseman from the Twins’ target list above. Putting Schumaker back in the outfield is likely a better solution than overpaying for Holliday or hoping that Ordoñez or Austin Kearns (-4.6) would benefit from a change of scenery and a return to full-time play.
The pressure is now on the Cards not only to win the NL Central, but to resign Holliday this winter given that they traded a potential long-term solution to their hole at third base.
Taking the Cardinals’ place on the list are the Rays, whose current catcher situation, staffed by former Yankee farmhands Dioner Navarro and Michel Hernandez, is what’s keeping them out of the AL East race.