The St. Louis Cardinals find themselves in an unexpected and unfamiliar position: in last place in the National League Central and far enough out of the wild-card race that they intend to sell at the trade deadline. The Cardinals, who have not suffered through a losing season since 2007, are being transparent about their deadline plans and how they intend to change their philosophy with respect to how they assemble their pitching staff moving forward.
While the Cardinals have mostly signaled an intent to trade impending free agents, like starters Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty and reliever Jordan Hicks, top executive John Mozeliak talked to reporters on Monday about a variety of deadline-related topics. Among those: he addressed the possibility that he would move either first baseman Paul Goldschmidt or third baseman Nolan Arenado -- both of whom have no-trade clauses and remain under contract beyond this season.
"I don't have any intentions of trading anybody like them," Mozeliak said. "If you're willing to listen on anything, you have to understand (anything's possible), but I doubt that would happen."
As for what the Cardinals intend to prioritize in their trade returns, well, Mozeliak made it clear that they want to add arms to the organization.
"We're going to treat the trading deadline as 'pitching, pitching, pitching,'" Mozeliak said. "That's not to say we're going to ignore a position player that may be uber-great … but the goal would be to address as much pitching as possible."
Mozeliak added that the organization will begin to value pitchers with swing-and-miss stuff more than they had previously. The Cardinals have more often been in the market for pitchers who generate ground balls. Indeed, St. Louis' pitching staff ranks 27th in contact rate as well as strikeout rate. Contrariwise, the Cardinals rank fifth in ground ball percentage.