July 16, 2009, 12:34 AM
Mark DeRosa's injury status at the end of this week will almost definitely be the deciding factor whether the Cardinals go after a pitcher or a hitter at this year's Trade Deadline.

When the Cards traded for DeRosa, he was supposed to be the bat that would help out our struggling offense. As we all know, he managed to go 0 for his first 9 at bats as a Redbird before being sidelined with a "torn wrist sheath".

Now, I'm not going to harp on the guy for going 0-fer in his Cardinals debut. You have to cut the guy some slack. He went from being the two hitter on a last place team, to being the cleanup hitter on a team battling it out for first place...OVERNIGHT. A slight adjustment period was to be expected. However, with this injury...the "adjustment period" may be a little too long for the Cardinals to wait out.

First off, there's no telling how DeRosa is going to recover. The wrist is a very important body part to a hitter. Without a fully functional wrist, a player has virtually no chance to generate bat speed, turn on a pitch, or even make contact without discomfort. My heart nearly stopped when I read the words "torn" and "wrist" in his injury report. Of course, it didn't help that they added the part..."typically this is the type of injury that can be season ending".

With that said, I'm still holding out hope that the guy will be able to return and contribute to this year's playoff run (afterall, it's not like we'll have him back next year, and we gave up at least one good trade chip to get him).

BUT...

If DeRosa is not able to come back in the next couple of weeks, you can almost certainly bet that the need for a bat will become more pressing than the need to add another arm. Duncan, Ankiel, and Thurston just aren't cutting it. Even with the resurgence of Ryan Ludwick the Cardinals still can't afford to have dead bats littered throughout the lineup.

So, if we assume the worst (DeRosa is out) then what bat do the Cardinals make a play for?

This hinges (if only slightly) on the recovery of Troy Glaus. If Glaus is able to come back and be even "average" at third base (both at the plate and in the field), it eliminates the immediate need for a replacement at the hot corner (cause even average would be better than Thurston).

If this were to occur, my pick for "Player to Trade For" would be Freddy Sanchez.

Yes, I know that he's not a power bat. I also know that he plays second base. But if Glaus is able to stop the bleeding at third then acquiring Sanchez means that you can move Schumaker back to the outfield. Suddenly you have production at every spot in the lineup.

Schumaker
Sanchez
Pujols
Ludwick
Rasmus
Glaus
Molina
Pitcher
Ryan

Not too shabby a lineup, if you ask me.

PLUS...Sanchez is going to cost the Cardinals significantly less (trade wise) than Holliday or Huff, if for no other reason than the Pirates are desperate to move him in order to keep from having to honor his sure to vest $8mil player option for next year.

Of course, that could be the kicker. Do the Cardinals commit to a player who projects to eat up $8million dollars next year? In my opinion, sure. Glaus and Kennedy both come off the books at the end of the season($12mil and $4mil, respectively). And Sanchez has experience playing both 2B and 3B. Worst case scenario, you've bought yourself at least another year of time for Brett Wallace to develop.

Like I said, this all depends on how Mark DeRosa progresses over the next week or so. If DeRosa is able to come back at a high level, then it becomes a whole nother ball game. But in ANY case, I don't want to read an article or breaking news scroll at the deadline that has the name Brett Wallace in it...unless it says the Cards are calling him up.

(Please, feel free to comment and/or make your case for the player you think the Cardinals should chase)

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