MLBTR Mailbag: Cardinals, Dodgers, Cano

I answered over forty questions in Tuesday's hourlong chat; here are a few I didn't get to.

What will the Cardinals' trade deadline look like? – Jordon

The clear starting point is the team's bullpen, which lost closer Jason Motte and has been the worst in the league by measure of ERA.  However, if you look at the pen's current composition, the Cards are strong at the back end with Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal, they have a credible lefty matchup guy in Randy Choate, and it'll be interesting to see what Carlos Martinez can do.  Two months from now, when most trades are happening, I'm not convinced anything will need to be done.  It'd be nice to acquire a shortstop, but the market is light on obvious trade candidates.  Perhaps Yunel Escobar of the Rays will be available, but he's playing terribly so far.  One intriguing name to watch is the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins, but only if they decide to blow it all up and he's willing to approve the trade.

How deep are the Dodgers' pockets? Any chance they take on some hefty salary for players like Cliff Lee? – Derk McCaw

We don't know the Dodgers' limitations, but I imagine they'll willing to add to their record payroll during the season.  Of course, the team is in last place, having dropped its last seven.  If the team can tread water until Zack Greinke and Hanley Ramirez return in June, GM Ned Colletti could have a month to evaluate whether his team has any shot at contention.  Aside from Lee, big-name targets could include Chase Utley, David Price, Jake Peavy, and Matt Garza.

What does Robinson Cano sign for? – Ryan

Once the 2013 season ends, it will have been almost two years since Scott Boras brokered a nine-year, $214MM deal for Prince Fielder with the Tigers.  Fielder was 28 in the first year of his new deal, while Cano will be 31.  Even though Cano is no longer represented by Boras, and is older than Fielder was, that contract has to be a point of reference and something CAA and Jay-Z will look to exceed, whether with the Yankees or on the open market.

I think if he continues to pitch well, Ervin Santana is a possible qualifying offer.  KC would probably be willing to overpay for one year to buy time for Duffy and Paulino rehab or Ventura and/or Zimmer to develop, right? – Fred

Should Santana's strong work continue, there's a good chance the Royals make a qualifying offer (which will potentially be around $14MM).  They already showed a willingness to pay him $12MM coming off a season in which he posted a 5.16 ERA and allowed 39 home runs.  That would be somewhat separate from an attempt to sign him, however, because I imagine he'd decline the offer in search of a multiyear deal.  That can be risky, as Kyle Lohse showed us, but Santana is younger and the market for pitching seems weaker.

What call-up has the most impact in 2013? - morF tnemmoC

If we're talking only about players called up midseason, my early vote goes to Reds starter Tony Cingrani, who has a 2.63 ERA filling in for Johnny Cueto and might be good enough to push Mike Leake to a bullpen role when Cueto returns.

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