Ronnie Belliard for Hector Luna; Belliard’s 31, solid offensively, mediocre on defense.
So basically, he’s like Hector Luna, only 31 and a free agent next year. And kind of fat.
Some people are going to say this is a good trade because La Russa’s going to play him full-time, a big deal with Aaron Miles hitting .250/.298/.321 since his brilliant April. And it’s true–simply by taking Miles out of the picture this trade adds value.
But the problem is that it’s only a good trade in the context of Tony La Russa’s inability to trust Luna with a full-time job, and that’s not a “win” so much as a recognition of the occasionally-asinine limitations of the manager. Divorced from that, the Cardinals have traded away one of their last bits of financial flexibility–this while coming up on an offseason where they’ll need to scrounge up two starting pitchers and at least one outfielder. In exchange, they’ve picked up two months of a guy no one will mistake for a difference-maker. They’ve almost guaranteed that the 2007 Cardinals will be stepping around the same second base sinkhole that they’ve just fixed.
Looking solely at the rest of this season, the Cardinals have made an incremental improvement. But in their Quixotic chase for consistency and certainty at all costs, they’ve left themselves deeper in the hole Braden Looper and Ricardo Rincon started digging.