St. Louis Cardinals Deadline DEALS: Joe Kelly, Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Disregarding the injury to Yadier Molina since it happened so close to the deadline and the catching market was extremely thin, what were considered the three major areas of need for the Cardinals at the trade deadline?

In no certain order:

a. Starting Pitcher

b. Shortstop

c. Center Fielder

Well the trade deadline passed, and externally, the Cardinals did not make a move to “improve” in any of these three areas. In fact, the only move the team made was sending embattled lefty, Marc Rzepczynski, to the Cleveland Indians for minor league infielder, Juan Herrera.

Some fans on social media as well as sports talk show hosts raised their respective eyebrows at the lack of moves, especially given the way the team was performing in Atlanta and Pittsburgh.

Well, as shown by the past two games, the Cardinals did make some “moves” after all, and they can truly be considered deadline DEALS.

a. They improved the starting rotation by inserting Joe Kelly into the 5th spot.

But what about Jake Peavy? Or Cliff Lee? Or even Bud Norris?

Well, since the start of June, Kelly has a 1.49 earned run average. In other words, in 42 and one-third innings pitched, Kelly has allowed just seven earned runs. His control has not been the best (1.73 K: BB ratio), but opponents just cannot make solid contact against him. Since June, opponents are hitting around .200 against Kelly. Also, since the All-Star Break, Kelly is 1-0 in two starts. He has 12 and one-third innings pitched and has yet to allow an earned run.

It would have been nice to add a pitcher like Peavy or Lee, but the asking price was just too high. As one team executive said on trading for Lee, “You’d have to give up your first born, second and third born, too.”

b. They improved at shortstop by going to a Daniel DescalsoPete Kozma platoon at the position.

Sure, Descalso is not a shortstop by trade, and after the season, the Cardinals really need to address this position. However, at this time, he is the team’s best option overall.

Kozma is better on defense, but Descalso is leaps and bounds ahead of Kozma on offense. Descalso’s on-base percentage is .321 while Kozma’s is .282. Get ready for this next point. Seriously, get ready. In 134 LESS at-bats, Descalso has just one less double than Kozma with 16, has four more home runs with five, and has just three less RBI with 29. 

Based on that alone, who should be playing shortstop more often? I guess if you are more of a fan of defense you will pick Kozma, but I have to go with Descalso. His offense more than makes up for what he is lacking in defense.

Thus, once again, the Cardinals did not have to sacrifice the future by dishing out top prospects for a marginal improvement at shortstop. Alexei Ramirez is a good player, but his value to the Cardinals compared to what the team already has at the position was not worth the asking price.

Is Descalso the future at shortstop? No, but he can fill a current need for the Cardinals at a much cheaper price. If Descalso’s defense really takes a tumble, then Kozma can take over. Plus, by having a platoon, it will motivate both players to work harder, and if one is struggling then the other can get more starts.

c. They improved in center by trusting that Jon Jay, a career .290 hitter, would start turning it around at the plate.

Post All-Star break, Jay is hitting .311 and has a .367 on-base percentage. There is only ONE player on the team with better numbers than that right now, and it is Matt Holliday. During that time, Jay has three doubles, one triple, and six RBI.

On the season, Jay may be hitting just .258, but this is definitely on the rise–he is hitting .300 since the start of July. Sure, he has a poor throwing arm and below-average range, but that takes a backseat if he is hitting like he has been. Also, as a past player, I am a firm believer in the notion that when a player starts hitting again, his defense often follows suit. Will this magically make his arm better? No. However, in my opinion, it will help him get better jumps on fly balls.

Sure, the team could have went out there and made a move for a center fielder, but in order to substantially improve at the position, Mozeliak would have had to relinquish one of the farm’s top prospects–something that just could not be done.

Thus, let’s start giving Jay some credit. He is not an All-Star by any means, but that is not needed on a team full of All-Stars. As long as he hits around .280 or higher and gets on base at least 33% of the time, he is getting the job done. Once Oscar Taveras is healthy, he will probably take over, but until then, Jay is our best option. Deal with it.


By filling needs internally and standing pat in center, the Cardinals not only improved for the rest of this season, but for years to come. Under the guidance of Jeff Luhnow and now Dan Kantrovitz, John Mozeliak, has carefully built a top-tier farm system–full of future impact players like Kolten Wong, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Taveras, etc.

Giving up Colby Rasmus in 2011 would look really bad right now if the team did not win the World Series. However, they did win so who can complain? Was there a deal out there that the Cardinals could have made that guaranteed them a better shot at winning the World Series? In my opinion, I do not think there was, so I am glad the Cardinals kept their prospects while improving the team in a much more cost-effective manner.

Until next time…


Follow me on Twitter: @stlCupofJoe

Official Member of the STLSportsMinute Network


18 thoughts on “St. Louis Cardinals Deadline DEALS: Joe Kelly, Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay

  1. Comments on Jay are wishful thinking. You can not have a center fielder with limited range when you have Holliday and Beltran as the other corner outfielders. Not only is Jay hitting in the .250’s, how many times has he failed to score a runner from third with less than two outs. He is a strikeout waiting to happen in those situations. Last night was an anomile when he doubled with the bases loaded. Although he did swing at the first pitch after the new pitcher had walked the previous three hitters. He is not a smart ball player at all. I can’t believe he is the best choice in center in our entire organization. Sad.

    • Pete, it appears you are a little off on your thinkings of Jon Jay.
      His Late in Pressure numbers are off the roof – .426 obp and .308 average and with risp .526 obp!!!!!!! and .400 average. WOW!!!!!! talk about clutch !!!!!!!!
      He also gets on base at a .335 clip which is top 30 pace for nl. But Jay does the stuff that most don’t know, like you for instance….has 9 hit by pitch, 7 IBB and 7 sac !!!!!!! plus he moves runner over from first to 2nd or 2nd to third better than almost anyone.
      In terms of RBI…he has driven in 39 runners (44rbi minus 5 homers) where as beltran has driven in only 38 runners (57 rbi minus 19 homers)…so stats prove that at a high clip he drives runners in or moves them over. And this has been he worst season to date. WOW !!!!!!! Ill take that as a persons worst batting season, as I’m sure you would too…

      In terms of you saying he is not a smart ballplayer, now that is not true based on what everyone in the clubhouse says about him.

      I also believe he does have great range and has a better than average arm. How many runners have taken an extra base off of him???? How many balls has he not gotten that someone else would have?????

      In conclusion not only his he our best choice in center, but one of best center fielders in the league.

      Don’t forget that the last part of 2011 he sparked us to playoffs as he did last year when he took over leadoff spot.

  2. You could have put something together for Peavy and Ramirez and offered 2 top and 2 lower prospects and asked for some money. You need to have faith in your scouts, not all the top guys will translate, self scouting allow you to know your guys better than other teams’ scouts.

  3. Jon, I don’t know where you are getting your stats, but if you check MLB official stats, your numbers are completely wrong. .335 OBP is not anywhere close to a top 30 stat in the league. The major league average is over .350. With runners in scoring position, he is hitting .267 with two outs, .246 with one out, .260 with no outs. In games that are considered Late/Close he is htting .237. He is hitting .169 against LH pitchers. Throw in that for someone with only 5 Hr’s he has struck out 72 times. Your stat comparing his stats to Beltran’s is laughable and a truly useless one. As far as being a .300 hitter every year, he has done it twice in the majors. .300 and .305. If you think he has great range, you don’t watch much baseball. If you think he has a good arm, check out how many runners he has thrown out. I am done doing your homework for you. Who have you talked to in the clubhouse that says how smart a ball player he is? He is not an everyday center fielder. You may like him, but he isn’t good enough.

    • Look up nl Obp and u will see he is right around 30 in Obp for nl. Go to CBS sports for late inning pressure situation. I watch and listen to almost all games but you must not. All of stats are correct and very usefull. Jay has hit in more base runners than Carlos. Tell me a runner that took an extra base off of jay? You are way off on league average for Obp. You get a big F on your homework. Just cause you don’t like a player doesn’t mean he isn’t good.
      You also didn’t know stl is 20-4 in games Beltran doesn’t play in over last two years.
      Don’t be such a hater…. As a cardinal fan you should be glad to have a world champ center fielder in Jay.
      Now go back to school and study some more.

  4. Jon, are you watching tonights game? Did your erroneous stats show you that he is tenth in OBP on the Cardinals, much less the rest of the league. You do not know what you are watching, or how to look up stats. F for you in common sense. 30th in OBP for what???!! If the stat only includes Lefthanded centerfielders that have a weak arm and no range, then maybe he is 30th.

  5. Pingback: St. Louis Cardinals Deadline Deals: Joe Kelly, Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay - :

  6. I did look it up Jon, and you are not smart enough to be able to obviously. Just stay a dumb little Jon Jay lover. The fact that you keep comparing him to Beltran is an insult to Beltran. You are the only person in America that would even think they are similar players. Oh wait, that’s right, you dont believe driving yourself in with a homerun has any value. No more arguing, you have no concept of baseball. I am not sure if you ever played or watched the game. Maybe you have a strange fascination with people who spell John without the “h” like your parents did. Either way, you are clueless.

      • Jon, if you had a twitter account and followed me, you would know I’m a huge Jay fan. I love his current hot streak and can see him getting to a .300 batting average by the end of the season. However, the bigger problem is that the Cardinals are playing like crap. Let’s worry about that first.

  7. Although I appreciate the passion you both are showing in this conversation, can we please either stop it or take it to somewhere other than my blog. It would mean a lot to me, and my viewers. Thank you, and I hope you both continue reading my future pieces as well!

      • At the moment, Jay’s on-base percentage is 35th in the NL at .334. However, in defense of Pete, he had many other points that he made other than just OBP. However, this is where the conversation STOPS. Please, for the sake of my other readers, listen to me on this one and move on from this discussion. Thank you.

  8. Pingback: No More Pete Kozma Please | Turner's Twist

  9. Pingback: Oscar Taveras still atop's top 20 prospect rankings - :

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