The Morning After STL

Strauss: Cardinals Should Make Martinez Centerpiece for Cole Hamels Trade

Brendan Marks, Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:05:00 GMT

last month, usa today’s bob nightengale reported the phillies wouldn’t consider trading cole hamels to the cardinals unless carlos martinez was part of the deal.

With a healthy Jaime Garcia the front-runner to win the fifth starter job – as noted by Rick Hummel on The Morning After Monday – Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes it’s now time for the Cardinals to make a push for Hamels, even if it means shipping away the young Martinez.

“I’ve said the whole spring that the Cardinals should engage the Phillies for Cole Hamels and make Martinez the centerpiece. It would take more than Martinez but…what does Carlos Martinez really represent to this team? Do people really think he’s ready to step into the rotation as a six-inning pitcher every time out?” Strauss said on The Ryan Kelley Morning After.

Related: Joe Strauss Talks Kroenke, Blues, Sweet 16 and Cole Hamels

Strauss said Marco Gonzales, who looks to start the year in Triple A, would still offer them flexibility if Garcia went down. He said the team also needs to set itself up for the future.

“This team has got to start looking beyond this year. John Lackey is gone after this year. Jaime Garcia, his contract is up after this year unless the Cardinals pick up a real burdensome two-year option. You gotta start planning ahead,” Strauss said.

The Cardinals could be banking on Martinez and Gonzales being their fourth and fifth starters in 2016. But Strauss thinks that would go against the team’s usual M.O.

“The Cardinals typically aren’t into betting on the come with multiple guys. Espcially with a (Michael Wacha) who only has nine career wins,” he said. “The Cardinals needs a veteran presence in this rotation and if Carlos Martinez can help you achieve that, I think you’re selling yourself short by not exploring that possibility.”

Strauss said he doesn’t believe Hamels will remain with the Phillies all season.

“You remain engaged. If they come at you and want to talk (Stephen Piscotty) or (Randall Grichuk), I don’t hang up. The Cardinals are built to win now. I don’t know what Randall Grichuk’s going to be. I don’t know what Piscotty’s going to be. But to me these guys are nice players, but I think ultimately they’re complementary players and if you can go ahead and get a co-ace…and have cost control for four years and not have to pay $220 million for seven seasons, I think there’s value in that.”

Strauss said the Cardinals are going to have some significant holes to fill next offseason and the team would be smart to start making moves now.

“If it means giving up a pitcher who’s been unable to attain a spot in your rotation the last two years, I think you have to look at that.”

Strauss covered several more topics surrounding the Cardinals, Rams and Blues on Monday. Listen to the complete segment below:

Joe Strauss on The Morning After