I blew off the last guy? Weird. I've long been an advocate for Mercado as a talent, as long time readers of this chat will know -- or readers when I wrote about him for The Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals made their commitment. They were going to add Lane Thomas to the 40-man roster, and they saw a buildup of redundancy on the 40-man roster with Bader, Garcia, Thomas added, and then Mercado coming. They wanted a lefthanded hitter in the mix and got Justin Williams from the Rays. See all the moving parts there? They wanted to move one of the redundant outfielders to get talent for the lower minors that they didn't have to immediately add to the 40-man roster and they could alleviate some pressure there. They wanted to move Mercado in a trade before losing him or Thomas in the Rule 5 draft for cash. They thought they would lose either of them.
Now, with that in mind they were making this decision:
They would move the player that would get the best return, even if internally he was considered the slightly better player, but preferably they would move the player that they didn't think was the closest to the majors or had the highest upside.
Internally, Mercado had his fans. Thomas did, too.
Cleveland traded the Cardinals two outfielders, down in the lower minors, for Mercado. I do not know if they would have done the same deal for Thomas. I do know that the Cardinals saw Thomas as the higher upside player, so much so that there was thought he would be in the majors contributing at some point already this season, possibly as their center fielder/fourth outfielder by this month.
Here are the players they got in return:
Conner Capel, 22 -- .251/.307/.429, 10 HRs, 40 RBIs, 33 runs, .736 OPS, and he's been as high in Class AAA Memphis. He's in Class AA.
Jhon Torres, 19 -- .219/.315/.375, 4 HRs, 19 RBIs, 19 runs, .690 OPS, and he's currently at rookie-ball Johnson City.
Clearly Torres has to be the upside prize of the deal if the Cardinals are going to get return on it that balances Mercado's talent. The Cardinals prioritized adding a lefthanded hitter, reducing redundancy, and creating a spot on the 40-man without losing a player for merely cash. They got what they wanted. It cost them talent they shouldn't have moved so eagerly. And don't get me started on Mercado's actual willingness, eagerness to try and steal bases. Kudos to Cleveland.