Viva El Birdos has a piece up about the Cardinals’ surprise rise to contention this season. A potent question is raised within: Should the Cards be content with merely contending, or should they be gearing up for a real shot at the Cubs? It’s not the easiest of decisions. They’re just 1.5 games back of the Cubs on the day we wrap up the season’s second month. But there are plenty of places this could go wrong.
For instance, Ryan Ludwick is currently the team’s second best hitter. There is little in the outfielder’s past that suggests he can maintain his .406 OBP or his .689 SLG. But hey, maybe they catch lightning in a bottle. And even if Ludwick does cool off, maybe Troy Glaus improves upon his uncharacteristic .380 SLG. Or maybe, like many recent years, he gets hurt.
That kind of illustrates the massive risk of mid-season moves. Injuries and flukes happen. And they both play an enormous role in a team’s ability to contend. If I’m heading the Cardinals, I’d probably stand pat. Too much can go wrong between now and October. (Though they’ll probably take another month to see how things are going.)
Once place the Cardinals can stand to improve is second base. Adam Kennedy clearly isn’t cutting it. Aaron Miles hasn’t been bad, but he really isn’t the answer. One player Viva brings up — and you’re going to hate me for this — is Brian Roberts. The Orioles have hit the cellar in the AL East, and might not climb out this season. We know that Peter Angelos favors Roberts, but there has to be a point where you trade him in to get some younger players if you can.
The Cards could use Anthony Reyes as trade bait. But who else? Any Cards fans want to jump in and talk about who is available, if anyone?
If the team doesn’t want to deal with Angelos, and I wouldn’t blame them, they could look at other second base options. Ray Durham probably won’t cut it, as the Cards already have a handful of players hovering around a .355 OBP with no power. Mark Grundzielanek? Too similar to Durham. Mark Ellis? He won’t come cheap.
I guess we’ll find out over the next month whether the Cards are in it for keeps. I’m sure those names will be mentioned plenty if they are.