The St. Louis Cardinals have emerged from the 2022 MLB trade deadline on fire. They have won six straight, and eight of their last nine, to retake sole possession of first place in the National League Central. Based on this current hot stretch from the Cards, they should be the favorites to pull away from the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central over the final two months of the season.
A big reason for that is because of the work they put in the at the trade deadline. St. Louis knew they needed some more pitching help, and they went out and got it. It’s already begun to pay dividends, as Jordan Montgomery, who was picked up from the New York Yankees at the deadline, was fantastic in his first start last night for the Cardinals.
Overall, though, it felt like St. Louis’ deadline day dealings left a bit to be desired. Their pitching staff is shored up for now, and will only get better once they get Jack Flaherty back from the injured list. But their lineup remains inconsistent at times, and the Cardinals failure to land this star outfielder could end up coming back to bite them in a big way down the line.
The 1 moves the St. Louis Cardinals should have made at the 2022 MLB trade deadline
Trade for Juan Soto
Juan Soto trade discussions dominated the 2022 MLB trade deadline for the Cardinals. They had a need for another big bat in their lineup, and Soto would be the perfect fit considering how good he is at just 23 years old. St. Louis also had the assets to pursue a potential trade for Soto.
It wasn’t surprising to see the Cardinals be one of the final three teams in the running for Soto. They had the assets, the need, and the desire to move for Soto. But they ultimately watched him get traded to another National League competitor in the San Diego Padres. It was a pretty disappointing result for the Cardinals and their fans.
St. Louis’ inability to land Soto was already labeled as their most surprising move at the deadline, and ultimately, when reviewing their work at the trade deadline, it’s the one move St. Louis should have made at the deadline as well. Anytime you have the potential to add a transcendent MLB star like Soto, you take that opportunity and run with it. The Cardinals inability to do so was a mistake.
Any team would have been glad to have the opportunity to add Soto to their roster, but not every team in the league had the assets to pull a deal off. The Cardinals are one that did, and they reportedly wouldn’t go above and beyond what the Padres were willing to offer for Soto.
In a sense, keeping their farm system in tact is logical. The Cardinals have a lot of solid prospects that have either already reached the majors, or on the verge of doing so. If they all pan out the way St. Louis intends for them to pan out, the Cardinals are going to have a very good team for many seasons to come.
But not every prospect is going to hit; it’s just the nature of the game. Taking established production over potential production is usually a guaranteed way to win. When it comes to Soto, a 23-year superstar who can hit for average, power, and get on base at a high clip, that established production wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
There’s a chance that Cardinals could have a couple prospects that will become All-Stars, but banking on them to produce like Soto is wishful thinking. There aren’t many hitters better than Soto in the MLB right now, and again, he’s only 23 years old. He probably has n’t even reached his peak yet, which is a scary proposition for the other 29 teams he is n’t on right now.
When it comes to winning now and in the future, there wasn’t a better move the Cardinals could have made than trading for Soto. He’s a star already, and he’s only going to continue to improve. St. Louis would have been set to contend immediately, and basically for as long as Soto was on their roster.
Instead, thet let another playoff team in the National League beat them to the punch, and it may haunt them for many seasons to come. The Cardinals made some nice upgrades at the trade deadline, but adding Soto would have put them over the top. It would have cost them a lot, but this is the move they should have made, and they are going to be left wondering whether or not they made a huge mistake for quite some time.