With the Cardinals outfield trio of Jim Edmonds, Larry Walker, and Reggie Sanders starting to show some wear and tear, the Cardinals may be in the market for a young outfielder. Jocketty was quoted as saying the team was looking for "an outfielder who can not only help us right now, but for future seasons as well." With no outfield prospects ready to jump to the big leagues and contribute, Jocketty will need to find help outside the organization.
One difference between this year and years past, is that the Cardinals have a few legitimate prospects teams would be interested in:
Anthony Reyes, 23, is the Cardinals top prospect. It's very hard seeing the Cardinals part with their top prospect, one who should be ready for the majors next year, at the earliest. With Chris Carpenter due for a raise, Jason Marquis due for arbitration, and Mark Mulder's $7.25 million option for 2006, the team needs a cheap replacement for the rotation. Matt Morris will be a free agent after the year, and Jeff Suppan has a $4 million option that may or may not be picked up. In 70 2/3 innings at AAA Memphis, Reyes has a record of 6-3, 2.93 ERA, while allowing 53 hits, and possessing a 66/16 K to BB ratio.
Adam Wainwright, 23, has been pitching very well along side Reyes in AAA Memphis this year. Though Reyes is regarded higher than Wainwright by the Cardinals brass, Wainwright still has great stuff and could be a centerpiece to a trade this July. He possesses top to middle of the rotation stuff. Wainwright is 5-3 on the year with a 3.36 ERA, and a 66/15 K to BB ratio in 85 2/3 innings.
Chris Lambert, 22, the club's 1st round pick in the 2004 Draft, has quickly moved up the ladder to AA Springfield. He is still learning to pitch. His fastball has been clocked at 92-94 mph with pretty good off speed stuff. With Single A Palm Beach, Lambert went 7-1 with a 2.68 ERA, while striking out 46 and walking 15 in 54 2/3 innings. He has been shaky so far with Springfield, with an 0-2 record, 9.26 ERA, and having a 9/9 K to BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings. Lambert's fresh arm and potential could be very intriguing to other teams.
Stuart Pomeranz, 20, was the 2nd round pick of the Cardinals in the 2003 draft. At 6'7, 220 pounds, he still has a lot of weight he could put on to add more speed to his fastball, which sits in the low 90s. While at Single A Palm Beach, Pomeranz was 2-5 with a 3.35 ERA, possessing a 29/10 K to BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings. Like Chris Lambert, he has been shaky since getting the call to AA Springfield. He has a 0-0 record, with a 6.86 ERA. He has struck out 17 and walked 5 in 19 2/3 innings. Many teams may like Pomeranz's long term potential has a middle of the rotation starter.
The Cardinals may need to look no further than the NL Central to find outfield help. The Cincinnati Reds sent Austin Kearns down to AAA. The Reds had a log jam in the outfield with Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Wily Mo Pena and Kearns battling for playing time. Kearns has hinted he would like to leave Cincinnati. Once considered one of the top prospects in the game, Kearns has yet to produce through a full season. Kearns, 25, had his best year in 2002, when he hit .315 with 13 HR and 56 RBI in 372 AB. With the Reds having a big need for pitching, they might make a good trading partner.
With the Cardinals having durable arms in Chris Carpenter, Jason Marquis and Mark Mulder, they may be willing to move a couple pitching prospects for any help the Cardinals they may need for the stretch run. We have no idea who Jocketty may go after this year, if anyone, but he has the Cards in his hand to give him the flexibilty to make a deal if need be.