ST. LOUIS – The MLB trade deadline has officially passed, and the St. Louis Cardinals roll into August with a flurry of moves, some perhaps expected more than others.
The Cardinals are activating catcher Yadier Molina ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Chicago Cubs. Molina was expected to return in early-August after dealing with knee inflammation for several weeks and embarking on a rehab assignment in late-July.
St. Louis completed three last-minute deals in the final hour before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. trade deadline. In the most prominent of three, the Cardinals traded outfielder Harrison Bader to the New York Yankees for left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery. Bader has spent the last few weeks on the injured list with a foot injury while Montgomery could give the Cardinals some rotation depth.
The Cardinals completed two other trades Tuesday, sending catcher Austin Romine to the Cincinnati Reds after he was designated for assignment Monday and adding catcher Austin Allen from the Oakland Athletics. Allen will report to the minor leagues now that Molina has returned.
Perhaps the biggest talking point from Tuesday’s deadline will be a trade the Cardinals did not make. The Cardinals were one of three teams in the running for Washington Nationals outfielder and perennial All-Star Juan Soto up until deadline day.
John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, traveled with the team to Washington and had been captured on video talking to and shaking hands with Nationals GM Mike Rizzo. However, the Cardinals fell short in the sweepstakes after the team did not make an offer that included young outfielder Dylan Carlson, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports.
The San Diego Padres officially completed a deal to land Soto around 3 p.m. Tuesday. San Diego added Soto and first baseman Josh Bell for a package consisting of four prospects, injured starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore and former Cardinals infielder Luke Voit.
Amid talks and discussions for Soto, the Cardinals made an in-division deal for two veteran pitchers. St. Louis acquired Jose Quintana and Chris Stratton from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitcher Johan Oviedo and infielder Malcolm Nunez.
With time running out on the trade deadline, the Cardinals will not be able to make any additional trades with teams until their 2022 campaign ends. The Cardinals will begin a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday with a 54-48 record. The Cardinals are three games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the National League Central lead and one game back of the Philadelphia Phillies for the final NL Wild Card spot.