With the addition of the second wild card, the MLB trade deadline isn't quite what it used to be.
Just take the National League this season for example.
There's only one team in the entire league that more than five and a half games out of a playoff spot at the time of this writing. (The Marlins)
Everyone thinks they have a shot. Therefore, teams are less willing to trade.
However, there are some deals out there to be made for the Cardinals, who could use a shakeup or two to prepare them for the stretch run.
Here's a list of five candidates (ok, a few more than five) that might make sense for the Cardinals to take a look at.
I don't think any of these guys have a legitimate shot at ending up in a Cardinals jersey.
Even though the Cards are third to last in the National League in runs scored, they seem pretty comfortable rolling with every starting position player on the roster.
That being said, the outfield is kind of a casserole of uncertainty right now.
Harrison Bader is struggling mightily, Marcell Ozuna is nursing broken fingers, Tyler O'Neill might be on the verge of a breakout, Dexter Fowler has been good enough and Jose Martinez has seen his playing time decrease dramatically.
Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a flyer on one of these above average outfielders on teams that will certainly be sellers if the price is right.
Merrifield would solve the top of the order problem for the club and fit in at various positions, and Castellanos and Haniger could hopefully add some power.
(It should be noted, an injury to Haniger could take him off the trade block completely)
Yes, that Francisco Liriano.
The Pirates veteran has been doing his thing for 14 years now, and is still pretty effective.
The Cardinals should know. Liriano holds a 2.25 ERA against them for his career. It's his lowest ERA against any team he's faced at least 10 times.
This is the kind of trade the Cardinals like to make. Find a cheap veteran bullpen arm that can get them to the end of the year.
I honestly don't think Liriano would be a bad option.
The Pirates are just three and a half games out of a wild card spot, but I think they'll see themselves as sellers as the deadline approaches.
This is the big fish.
There's not much left to say about Bumgarner. Even though he's having a down year by his standards, he's still an ace, who can turn a series on a dime with one start.
While the Cards' rotation has been impressive as of late, getting an actual bona fide starter for the postseason run wouldn't be a bad idea.
It would cost a lot to get him, and the Giants might not even think they're out of it either (they're just three games out of a playoff spot), but it's worth at least making the call.
#2: Marcus Stroman
Other than Bumgarner, Stroman has probably been the highest profile pitcher mentioned in trade rumors.
The Blue Jays are out of it this year, and contention might even be a few years away up north.
An all-star this season, Stroman has impressed this to the tune of a 3.25 ERA in 2019.
He also won't be a free agent until 2021, which makes him even more valuable. He wouldn't just be a rental.
The Blue Jays will probably demand a heavy ransom, but Stroman might be worth the price.
Another 2019 all-star, Smith will likely be the most coveted reliever on the market as the deadline approaches.
His Giants teammate Tony Watson is another trade deadline candidate, as he seems to be almost every year.
It's safe to say the Andrew Miller trade hasn't worked out quite like the Cardinals had hoped so far. Signed to be the lefty weapon out of the bullpen, Miller just frankly not been very good, and has given up seven home runs already this season.
With the absence of Jordan Hicks for the rest of the season, adding another strong bullpen arm wouldn't be a bad idea. Adding another lefty would be an even smarter play.
Greene is another all-star bullpen arm the Cardinals could prioritize.
Greene has a minuscule 1.06 ERA for the lowly Tigers this season as their closer. He could also be more than a rental, who won't be a free agent till 2021