The St. Louis Cardinals had a very solid deadline for their 2022 MLB trade. They backed a drained team by picking a pair of starters at the end of the rotation in Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery, and added to their squad with Chris Stratton and Jojo Romero.
When all was said and done, it was quite clear that the Cardinals had improved quite a bit as a result of the trade deadline. In a competitive race in the National Central League with the Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis came out of the deadline looking like the better team. It remains to be seen if they can translate that into a win in their division.
While these moves for the Cardinals were good, they weren’t necessarily surprising. Everyone knew the Cardinals would be looking for help at the deadline. The biggest surprise for St. Louis came on Deadline in the form of a deal they ended up not closing, and that could have radically changed the teams’ future prospects.
Biggest Surprise in MLB Trade Deadline at St. Louis Cardinals 2022
Not trading for Juan Soto
Since Juan Soto was made available by the citizens of Washington after he turned down a whopping 15-year extension offer worth $440 million, the Cardinals seemed like a very reasonable landing area for the young star. They needed a little more help with their lineup, and their court was a perfect place to land for another big racket.
The 23-year-old Soto would be a perfect fit for the Cardinals teams today, and the teams of the future too. St. Louis currently have a squad led by hitting stars Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, and adding Soto to that starting line-up would have immediately given them one of the best squads in the league.
Not to mention, the Cardinals have plenty of young talent on their roster that already compliments Arenado and Goldschmidt. Soto’s addition may be the piece that led them to success this season, but also several seasons to come.
Using Soto as a building block for the team’s future made great sense. Admittedly, St. Louis had to give up some of their young talents to get Sotos, but their ranch system is deep enough to absorb a hit of this caliber.
The Cardinals emerged as one of Soto’s three true finalists as Deadline Day slipped. Their competition was fierce in two of the other powers in the NL, the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. But given the depth of the Cardinals’ farm system, it felt like they had the inside path to land on Soto here.
Instead, they watched the Padres family do what the Cardinals’ front desk decided not to do, and it was a parting for almost their entire farm system. It’s also worth noting that the Padres’ deals falter with Josh Hader and Brandon Drury as well, and Josh Bell acquired in their trade with Washington for Soto, but the brunt of their prospects has been tapped into Soto’s capture.
It’s not a great look at the Cardinals’ front office having so much to stand on deadline while a National League rival did what he could, throwing everything at the best players available at deadline. Truth be told, St. Louis was probably in a better position to absorb a trade in favor of Soto than San Diego.
Instead, the Cardinals made some under-the-radar moves that improved them, but not at the same rate that a team like San Diego improved. Even with the aforementioned deadline deals, St. Louis are still a team on the playoffs, and if they don’t outsmart the Brewers at NL Central, they could miss the playoffs altogether.
The acquisition of Juan Soto was the move that put this team ahead, and it was pretty surprising that they didn’t do what it took to reach the transcendent star from Washington. Arenado and Goldschmidt aren’t getting any younger, and they struggle to maintain the Cardinal’s particularly weak attack.
Unfortunately, they will have to continue to bear the brunt of this season’s workload for St. Louis, and they hope that some of their younger teammates will continue to develop throughout the remainder of the 2022 season. Choosing Soto would have changed everything for the Cardinals and, in retrospect, quite surprisingly They didn’t do what it takes to land it. Instead, they will be left to wonder if they can do more on the deadline as they continue to fight for a watershed point over the course of the season.
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