The Cardinals added a wanted arm to the rotation and picked up a veteran reliever Monday night, asserting an intra-division commerce that may internet them lefty Jose Quintana and righty Chris Stratton from the Pirates. In return, the Pirates are receiving righty Johan Oviedo and minor league third baseman Malcolm Nunez.
Quintana was an apparent commerce candidate, as he is an impending free agent on a Pittsburgh membership with no probability of reaching the postseason in 2022. The Bucs had been sure to maneuver him for some gamers who might assist past this season, and as a rental participant, there is not any motive for Pittsburgh to be involved about shifting him to a division rival.
The Cards have kicked round the marketplace for higher-impact arms, with former Oakland ace Frankie Montas reportedly a main goal. Once the A’s dealt Montas to the Yankees, it appears the Cards pivoted to a lower-cost veteran stabilizer for the again of the beginning employees. Quintana is not the mid-rotation arm he was at his peak, the form of pitcher a membership would goal to begin a playoff sport. Yet he is had a good bounceback season in Pittsburgh after struggling in 2021.
Quintana has made 20 begins for the Pirates, working to a 3.50 ERA. He’s solely averaged a hair above 5 innings per outing, tallying 103 frames on the season. The sheltered position — during which Pittsburgh has restricted his publicity to opposing lineups for a 3rd time in a begin — has helped the veteran southpaw, however his manufacturing has been good on a price foundation. Quintana’s 20.6% strikeout price is a bit beneath common, however he is induced swinging strikes on a stable 11.2% of his choices. He’s additionally generated grounders on a barely above-average 45% of batted balls — a trait that has been of enchantment to the Cards entrance workplace in gentle of the workforce’s robust infield protection — and he is solely walked 7.2% of opponents.
Adding Quintana addresses a rotation that has been hit with a pair notable accidents in latest weeks. Jack Flaherty is shelved as soon as once more after battling renewed shoulder issues, though the Cards hope he can return late this month. Offseason signee Steven Matz, in the meantime, tore the MCL in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season. While he is not formally been dominated out for the yr, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak just lately instructed Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it might be “very, very troublesome” to get him again onto a mound in 2022.
The Cardinals add Quintana to a rotation that additionally contains Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas and rookie Andre Pallante. The Cards have high prospects Matthew Liberatore as a depth possibility, however he is bounced on and off the energetic roster all year long. Pallante, in the meantime, has spent a very good chunk of the season within the bullpen and may very well be on an innings restrict. Even with a hopeful late-season return from Flaherty, the Cardinals might nonetheless look into one other rotation pickup along with Quintana.
Stratton, in the meantime, offers the Cards a veteran reliever who’s labored in a leverage position with the Pirates for the previous few seasons. He’s sitting on an unsightly 5.09 ERA in 2022 however was a rock-solid member of the bullpen in 2020-21.
This yr’s struggles have come largely because of a bloated .365 common on balls in play in opposition to Stratton, who’s really sporting a career-low 7.2% stroll price up to now. The former first-round decide has seen his strikeout price dip from final season’s 25.5% to twenty.4% in 2022, however his 12.2% swinging-strike price is correct in keeping with final yr’s mark and his 37.3% opponents’ chase price on pitches off the plate is a career-best (and nicely north of the league common). He’s additionally a perennial spin-rate darling, and 2022 is not any exception. Stratton leads all of Major League Baseball in fastball spin price this season, and the spin price on his curveball clocks into the 99th percentile.
All in all, Stratton seems like a pleasant rebound candidate, notably as soon as he strikes from a Pirates membership that ranks twenty fourth within the Majors with -12 Outs Above Average (per Statcast) to a Cardinals membership that ranks third with a collective +19 mark in that very same class. As a bonus, Stratton will stay underneath workforce management into the 2023 season by way of arbitration.
It’s an reasonably priced gambit for the Cardinals, because the 33-year-old Quintana is assured simply $2MM this season and Stratton is incomes the same $2.7MM wage. The last few months of these salaries will not make a lot of an impression on St. Louis’ payroll outlook for the rest of the yr.
Turning to the Pirates’ finish of the swap, they’re going to add an instantaneous massive league possibility for his or her employees within the 24-year-old Oviedo, who has logged MLB time with the Cardinals in every of the previous three seasons. The 2022 marketing campaign is the primary that he is loved above-average outcomes, however he is been fairly spectacular in a bullpen position this season after struggling as a starter in 2020-21. Through 25 1/3 innings, Oviedo owns a 3.20 ERA with a 24.1% strikeout price, a really robust 6.5% stroll price and a 43.2% ground-ball price.
Oviedo is averaging a career-best 95.6 mph on his heater this season after shifting right into a multi-inning reduction position, and he is sporting career-best swinging-strike and opponents’ chase charges (13.3% and 33.9%, respectively). The Pirates might entertain the concept of shifting him again right into a beginning position, however Oviedo has been hit laborious as a starter each in Triple-A and within the Majors thus far in his profession. The transfer to the bullpen could be the very best position for him going ahead, and if that is the case he could be a member of the Pittsburgh bullpen for years to return. Oviedo will end the season with underneath two years of MLB service, that means he may be managed 5 years past the present season.
Nunez, 21, was the Cardinals’ No. 13 prospects on Baseball America’s midseason replace of their prospect rankings. He’s in his second stint on the Double-A degree and having fun with a way more productive go of it this time round, hitting .255/.360/.463 with 17 massive flies in that pitcher-friendly setting. Nunez has walked at a hearty 13.7% clip and is putting out at a manageable 20.3% price.
Scouting reviews on Nunez give him little probability of sticking at third base, however the Cardinals have emphasised enhancing his protection in recent times and proceed to play him on the scorching nook. Nunez attracts reward for above-average to plus energy and a probably above-average hit instrument. A transfer to first base and even designated hitter is perhaps in his future, however he provides an intriguing bat to the Pirates’ system — one who might quickly be prepared for the Triple-A degree.
Jeff Passan of ESPN first reported that the Cardinals had been finalizing a Quintana deal (Twitter hyperlink). Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch broke the information that Stratton was additionally headed to St. Louis (on Twitter). Francys Romero reported the Pirates’ return (Twitter hyperlink).