The St. Louis Cardinals are in on multiple MLB trade rumors, since they could use--depending on who you talk to--a relief pitcher, a starter, or a second baseman, and since it's easy to imagine them going in multiple directions with each problem. But Huston Street, the San Diego Padres' closer, has long been the going-all-in option at the top of the reliever-rumors totem pole. So how good does that make him?
The cop-out answer is not as good as he's been. Street's numbers are tough to parse, since he spent 2011 giving up a lot of home runs in Coors Field and has spent 2012 giving up no home runs at all at Petco Park.
But assuming that neither stop is particularly valuable as a data point--and that he won't maintain a sub-2.00 ERA wherever he ends up after the trade deadline--Street actually has an easy-to-discern skill-set, one that will be familiar to Cardinals fans who've watched Chris Carpenter for parts of the last eight years. Street has a not-quite-elite strikeout rate for a reliever, and he combines it with excellent control.
It's actually reminiscent of Jason Motte at his best, though it's hard to imagine two closers with less in common. What makes Street particularly valuable is that, like few other relief pitchers this side of Mariano Rivera, he's been able to repeat his trick year after year. I'm not sure if it'll be enough for the Padres to pull the trigger, but I can imagine these Cardinals paying a lot for his level of consistency.