The Chicago Cubs have taken care of business against the St. Louis Cardinals this past week and a half to the point where the team has begun to move major assets through trades.
Just as the Cardinals were in the process of snapping a season-high eight game winning streak for the Cubs on Sunday afternoon, reports came in about two major trades the St. Louis front office had completed. The first trade will send flame-throwing 26-year-old reliever Jordan Hicks to the Toronto Blue Jays while the second one will see the Redbirds' best starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery moved to the first-place Texas Rangers. Reliever Chris Stratton is also going to Texas alongside Montgomery.
Although all three men will be rentals on expiring contracts, these moves make it clear that the Cardinals are throwing in the towel on the 2023 season. And the Chicago Cubs helped make the decision for the Cardinal's front office. Since July 20th, the Cubs and Cardinals met eight times with St. Louis dropping six of the games to find themselves fighting to stay out of last place in the division. In a year where they were expected to win the NL Central with relative ease, they now sit 13 games below .500 with two months left to go.
2023 may be a bust for St. Louis, but they were able to secure a pretty hefty haul of prospects:
Rangers receive: LHP Jordan Montgomery, RHP Chris Stratton
Cardinals receive: RHP Tekoah Roby (Ranger's no. 11), INF Thomas Saggese (Ranger's no. 14) LHP John King
Blue Jays receive: RHP Jordan Hicks
Cardinals receive: RHP Sem Robberse (Blue Jays' no. 7) and RHP Adam Kloffenstein
According to MLB's projections, each one of these prospects is slated to arrive in the big leagues by the end of the 2024 season. While it may be fun to laugh at the Cardinal's misery now, they just effectively loaded their farm system with 4 near MLB-ready young players who could impact their team as early as next year. And they may not be done yet as Jack Flaherty is another starter the Cardinals have on an expired contract. With teams paying such steep prices for pitching right now, I would assume Flaherty is the next one to get moved.
But for now, Cubs fans can rejoice in the fact that the team played their way into being buyers at the trade deadline and that Cody Bellinger will probably not get traded. Oh and that Mike Tauchman home run robbery will go down as one of the coolest moments of the year.