In the Cards or Giant mistake? (heh heh heh)
The St. Louis Cardinals missed out on Juan Soto this morning — the young superstar for the Nationals is reportedly on his way to San Diego. While a bat like Soto in the lineup between Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado would have been fun, most can agree a clear area of need for the Cardinals is pitching. At Blogger Day Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak admitted this himself stating the team “needs to find innings somewhere”. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Cardinals are looking at Giants pitcher Carlos Rodón to fill this need:
Cardinals are definitely canvassing the teams with targeted starters (again and again) for deadline prices. https://t.co/KIS5zB70Jv
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) August 2, 2022
Rodón has been a one of the top pitchers not just for the Giants this season, but in all of baseball: in 123 innings he has a 3.00 ERA ad 2.29 FIP. His 4.2 fWAR leads all pitchers. His 31.9K% would be top among Cardinals starters and a 7.9% walk rate would be right behind Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright.
Much of Rodón’s success comes from have one of the best 4-seamers in baseball. He throws it nearly 96 mph on average near the top of the zone. Per Baseball Savant’s run value it has a -14 RV, which is tied for fourth in the league for most valuable pitch (tied with the likes of Sandy Alcantara’s changeup and Justin Verlander’s 4-seamer). He also throws a slider to both right and left-handed batters that he spots perfectly down and away in the zone (to lefties). Check out this thing of beauty:
The danger with Rodón for the Cardinals is that he has never pitched over 165 innings in a season and the last time he did that was in 2016. In 2021 he pitched just over 132 innings. With 123 innings pitched in 2022 he is already approaching his career high. The Cardinals need innings — how many more with Rodón actually provide them?
There is also the cost of acquisition. The Cardinals are likely unwilling to part with prospects like Jordan Walker (otherwise they win the bidding for Soto, right?), particularly for a player like Rodón, whose value is probably the highest it will ever be right now and who has an opt-out clause after 2022. This trade would certainly be exciting, but does not seem like the type of move the Cardinals typically make at the Trade Deadline.
The asking price for starters Carlos Rodon, Tyler Mahle and Noah Syndergaard remains sky-high, rival team executives say, with some contenders already bowing out of the bidding and staying pat.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 2, 2022
A few hours remain unlike the Trade Deadline comes to a close at 5:00pm CDT. The Cardinals are likely to have acquired some pitching by then. Whether or not that is Carlos Rodón… well we will just have to wait and see.