CHICAGO -- As others speculate about Carlos Martinez's potential availability at the Trade Deadline, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak downplayed the likelihood that the team would deal Martinez or any of the other high-end pitchers they hope to build around."For us, the one core we have is pitching,"
CHICAGO -- As others speculate about Carlos Martinez's potential availability at the Trade Deadline, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak downplayed the likelihood that the team would deal Martinez or any of the other high-end pitchers they hope to build around.
"For us, the one core we have is pitching," Mozeliak said before Thursday's series opener at Wrigley Field. "And to start trying to arbitrage that would have to be a very special-type deal, otherwise it would make no sense to us. None of that has presented itself to me. No one has called me with any great ideas that way. One of the responsibilities is us looking at potential trades, potential partners, but nothing that I've looked at would make sense in that regard. I don't envision us moving pitching."
To move Martinez, in particular, would require the Cardinals to be overwhelmed by the return. Including the two option years on Martinez's contract, the Cardinals have the 26-year-old locked up for another five seasons at $69.5 million. It's a reasonable cost for a player who, since becoming a permanent member of the rotation in 2014, has posted a 3.22 ERA and .600 winning percentage.
As far as what the Cardinals might do before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Mozeliak, for the second time this week, responded with the succinct answer of "TBD."
"I think we're going to take that day by day," Mozeliak continued. "You can't just make a knee-jerk reaction to say we did something. I definitely think how we play over the next 10, 11 days could definitely move the needle in how we think about it."
The Cardinals' schedule has something to do with that. Though they opened the second half 7.5 games behind the Cubs in the National League Central, the Cards have an opportunity to make a serious dent in that deficit. Eight of their first 11 games out of the break come against the Cubs.
St. Louis is also bunched up among eight clubs in the Wild Card race. Only 6.5 games separate the top and bottom of that group.
Mozeliak is open to being nudged in one direction or another should the Cardinals open this second half with a statement under interim manager Mike Shildt. They'll never succumb to being a seller, but there would be a different calculus depending upon whether the Cardinals decide to buy for this year or for the future.
"I think we feel like we've been kind of straddling the fence a little bit, if you will, looking at what a pursuit might look like versus also what it might look like to move a player," Mozeliak said. "Again, [we] haven't made any concrete decisions on what it's going to look like, but we're going to remain open-minded."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.