With the Cardinals lingering around the area of first place in the NL Central behind the juggernaut that is the Pittsburgh Pirates and with several areas that need obvious help in the back of the rotation and the bullpen. I’m not here to talk about who the Cardinals will be bringing in, but who will be going out.
Let’s start with two assumptions; first, the Cardinals have said that they are not trading anyone from the major league team right now. Secondly, Miller, Martinez are off limits and let’s throw in Jenkins, Cox and Wong in that category as well. Jenkins for his distance from the majors and value to the Cards, Cox because of his contract and 40 man roster requirement and Wong because he cannot be traded as he was just drafted.
Once you get beyond the potential top 5 above, the Cardinals probably will be trading from their system strength, which is pitching and especially right-handed pitching. If another team sees Joe Kelly as a starter, he could be a part of a deal with his strong ground ball rate and solid strike out rate. I know that not everyone sees him as a starter going forward, so the values on him might vary wildly.
Matt Adams is another good candidate as the Cardinals have seemingly been showcasing him in Springfield instead of moving him up to a harder challenge in Memphis. He is redundant in the long term if the Cardinals resign Albert Pujols, if they do not, Adams will need to have a larger role for the franchise going forward. Matt Adams value does take a hit because he is limited to 1st base or DH, which most teams have filled with one-dimensional sluggers already in the pipeline.
Other pitching options are John Gast, pickoff specialist, Jordan Swagerty, who has pitched well of late and looks like a solid rotation prospect, Maikel Cleto has seemingly been showcased as well with popping radar guns with triple digits. It may be my HPGF-colored glasses, but Cleto has upped his trade value since he came to the Cardinals in exchange for Brendan Ryan. I would imagine the Cardinals would not trade Oscar Taveras as he is a bit of a diamond in the rough at this point and probably would not return a lot of value until he starts playing consistently in more upper-level leagues.
The problem is that one of these players is not going to return a major league haul and will need to be packaged with 2-3 other players.
Who do you think is poised to be dealt and who do you think has the most value to other teams at this point?