What I love about MLB trade rumors, especially in July, is that they can and do start anywhere, whether they're sourced or not. I hadn't thought about the Philadelphia Phillies, looking to shed payroll, trading Chase Utley to the St. Louis Cardinals until yesterday afternoon, when somebody brought it up in Viva El Birdos's comment section. At first it made no sense to me, and then I thought about the discussion the commenters were having about it--the similarity the trade bears to the aging-veteran deals the Cardinals have tried in the past, the need to rebuild in Philadelphia, the Cardinals' inability to fill second base--and it all fit.
I don't know that John Mozeliak is thinking about it, but I know I am. In the long term, Chase Utley would give way just in time for top infield prospect Kolten Wong to take over at second base; in the short-term, Utley, even the diminished one we saw in 2011, patches the last hole in the Cardinals' offense, turning it into a 2004-style Carousel of Death.
Admittedly, I'm biased; Utley, who at his best was a model of baseball efficiency, has always been one of my favorite non-Cardinals, and I'd love to root for him without reservation for a while. But if the Cardinals are able to take on the short-term bump in payroll, I think Utley could be just as important an acquisition as any of the pitchers being tossed around.
More Cardinals rumors and analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:
- Joe Strauss suggested Thursday that Shelby Miller was no longer unouchable in trade talks.
- This used to be filed under trade rumors, but now that Brian Fuentes has been released the Cardinals could just sign him.