Having already made three in-season moves, general manager John Mozeliak was in an enviable position: he could jump if the right opportunity presented itself, but he didn't have to make a move. The Cardinals would still like to add a right-handed relief pitcher before the Aug. 31 deadline for setting playoff rosters, but the urgency was definitely different on Friday than it has been on Deadline day in past years.
"I don't think there was really any momentum to get anything done in the last, say, 36 hours," Mozeliak said on Friday afternoon. "But there were times when previous deals we were working on didn't seem like they were going to get done either. I kind of came into the office this morning [thinking] if something happens and we think it's right, we'll do it. But we do feel this club is vastly improved and can compete and should be able to win."
Since late June, the Cardinals have added Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo and Matt Holliday. The cost has been plenty from the farm system, but only two players from the Major League roster: Chris Duncan and Chris Perez. So while the long-term cost has been significant, there's little doubt that the Cards' active roster is significantly stronger than it was six weeks ago.
Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players have already cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, let the player go to the claiming team, or work out a trade with the claiming team.
There is another deadline, Aug. 31, that is very important to contending teams because players must be on the Major League roster by midnight on that date to be eligible for postseason play. That's the date the Cardinals have in mind, and they believe there's still a chance to get something done before that day.
"I think given the flurry of deals that happened at the 11th hour here, the likelihood of guys getting through waivers may be higher than low," Mozeliak said. "And the cash may prevent people from just claiming and claiming."
The Cardinals were not especially inclined to part with any more prospects or take on any significant salary in a deal, limiting their options as far as adding a pitcher. One chance to make such a move may arrive when and if Troy Glaus is activated from the disabled list. The club would like to move Glaus to a team that could use him as a first baseman or designated hitter, and it's conceivable that he could fetch a reliever in exchange.
Without doing that, though, making a move was difficult.
"Acquisition costs come in many different shapes and sizes," Mozeliak said. "But to stay cash-neutral and not move any player of desire was impossible."
So the day moved relatively stress-free for the front office as well as uniformed personnel. In some cities, they were watching the ticker closely to see who might be coming or going. In St. Louis, it held passing interest but didn't dominate the day.
"We've done so much and Mo has kept us posted, so I knew that it was very unlikely that we would do anything," manager Tony La Russa said. "And I'm really pleased with what we've done. We're all pleased with what we've done. It was an interesting day. I was watching other things when I was getting ready. They had it on in the lunchroom, so all the different moves got talked about. I heard most of them."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.