The St. Louis Cardinals could be sellers at the MLB trade deadline. Here are the names to watch out for.
The St. Louis Cardinals began the season expecting to contend. Fast forward to the start of June, and the team is 25-32 — barely fourth place in the lowly NL Central.
After beginning the season on an especially poor note, the Cardinals have been chipping away in the standings. They went above .500 in the month of May and there’s reason to believe the team, with plenty of quality bats in the lineup, is capable of performing above their current record.
That said, another recent slide has left the Cards on shaky terrain. While St. Louis could justify another month of full-tilt competitiveness (they’re only 4.5 games back of first-place Milwaukee), the Aug. 1 trade deadline looms as a potential inflection point if the franchise can’t start stacking wins.
The St. Louis Cardinals could be extremely active at the MLB trade deadline
ESPN insider Jeff Passan dove deep into all the rumors circulating the MLB in advance of August’s trade deadline. Naturally the Cardinals are prominently featured, with front office executives and fans alike wondering if the team will hit the reset button.
The Cardinals have a slew of potentially available outfielders for trade deadline buyers to choose from. Passan lists Tyler O’Neill as a player St. Louis is “willing to trade,” but suggests the largest potential haul would derive from 25-year-old right fielder Lars Nootbaar. Other outfielders to monitor, per Passan: Dylan Carlson, Alec Burleson, and Tommy Edman.
The pitching rotation could also receive a shake-up. Front office officials around the league are reportedly split on the possibility of starter Jake Flaherty hitting the trade block. Meanwhile, the expectation is that veteran Jordan Montgomery, who the team acquired from the Yankees just last season, won’t be moved unless the Cardinals fully bottom out.
If St. Louis does indeed bottom out, however, the deadline could get wild. Passan suggests a potential fire sale, with almost every player conceivably available for the right price. The Cardinals have a lot of juicy trade chips to bargain with, and another two months of subpar baseball could push the front office toward a full-blown retool.
That’s where Passan drops the potential atom bomb: if the Cardinals do reach the point of complete implosion, might reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt be up for grabs? He only has one year left on his contract and there would obviously be a long line of eager suitors. That said, Goldschmidt has a no-trade clause and would have to approve any potential destination.
For now, the Cardinals will try to right the ship and avoid Passan’s hypothetical fire sale. But with the gap between St. Louis and playoff contention widening, it’s easy to imagine a not-so-distant future where everything, including a blockbuster trade with the reigning MVP, is on the table.