Sending shortstop Adalberto Mondesi further over I-70 Net, KC Royals, can he be a starting pitcher?
Welcome to the 29 Transactions in 29 Days series. Every day I’ll be taking a look at a new MLB team in an effort to find a trade deal that makes sense for the Kansas City Royals to hypothetically pursue. For some basic rules and an example, check out Part 1 of the series. Today, let’s continue our run with National League Central as I examine a possible trade involving the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Royals and Cardinals are both MLB teams and both call the state of Missouri their home. Other than that, these two teams have virtually nothing else in common. St. Louis has been a model franchise for years, while the Royals have been near or at the bottom of the league outside of 2013-17.
No matter how a season seems to go for the Cardinals, luck always seems to favor them. One example is the 17-game winning streak they’ve continued this year to go from the playoffs after the fact to nearly overturn the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 106 wins in the Wild Card game. The Cardinals roster isn’t full of superstars, rather it’s a roster that’s built consistently with players like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Tyler O’Neill anchoring the middle. Starting pitchers have generally always been a force for the Cardinals, as they seem to produce one new pitcher per year.
So, with this ever-changing breakout player rotation, it can be difficult to find one to trade in for a tricky proposition. However, the Royals can offer a couple of things to pique the interest of their Western rivals.
The cardinals of Saint-Louis receive: SS Adalberto Mondesi, RP Domingo Tapia
Kansas Coty Royals receives: SP Dakota Hudson
The Cardinals are expected to resume most of their starting rotation from last year’s squad, as the only notable departures are likely their two rentals to Jon Lester and JA Happ. Carlos Martinez and his 6.23 ERA are also expected to hit the bricks. Plus, with their number one pitcher prospect (Matthew Liberatore) having a good chance of making the spring training roster, there’s a good chance Hudson is on the verge of exiting the rotation.
Hudson looked to be one of the future pieces for this Cardinals squad, but with an injury that caused him to miss most of the season as he recovered from surgery at Tommy John, 2021 has been a year a little lost. The Cardinals are always at their best because they are a ruthless organization that is results-driven and isn’t afraid to pass players when their value is down. While Hudson has impressed in Triple-A on his rehab mission and both of his MLB outings this year, the Cardinals may be looking to jump in and negotiate to improve their roster.
The Cardinals’ biggest roster weakness is shortstop Paul DeJong, as his career has seen a drastic decline since his sole All-Star appearance in 2019. Even though the Cardinals have signed DeJong for a new okay, they made sure to give each other withdrawals. in 2024 and 2025 in case something like this happens. Unfortunately for them, DeJong’s decline came much sooner than expected. As much as I could fault Mondesi for being overrated by the Royals despite its pedestrian count, it is an improvement over DeJong and also offers a lot more benefits.
Tapia will help solidify the Cardinals’ relieving box, which is expected to lose three key pieces to TJ McFarland, Luis Garcia and Andrew Miller. This, in theory, should give the Cardinals a solid bullpen rotation consisting of Tapia, Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes.
For the Royals, they get what they need which is a legitimate pitcher to place at or near the top of the rotation without lowering the Daily Value of the roster. Mondesi is not a guaranteed start next year for the club, either in the infield, the outfield or at the designated hitter level. Dayton Moore has already hinted that he cannot be relied upon in this regard. Mondesi has not played 100 games since 2017.
No matter how many times the fans might defend Mondesi and hint at the potential he gives off, keeping him will only hold the team back. Now is the time for the Royals to act as a winning organization and improve their team’s weakness by trading from a surplus area. Mondesi’s value is unlikely to be higher for any other team than St. Louis, as this is an immediate upgrade and offers potential which, while not fully realized, may be. always be there.
Hudson would give the Royals a consistent and proven starter to help build the pitching staff from the nearly rocky bottom into a respectable unit once again. Kansas City has built the pitching staff out of hopes, dreams and potential, but has yet to add any real, proven pitchers into the mix. That has to change if the Royals are to be a winning team again and sometimes patience cannot be a virtue when it comes to retooling a baseball team.
Acquiring a high level pitcher is more important than having a utility player who could possibly be a good player if he manages to stay healthy and the pigs had to fly over Crown Vision at Kauffman Stadium. The recent history of Hudson’s injuries is what balances this trade and if he hits, it sure will have been a worthwhile decision on behalf of the Royals.