Former Cardinals top prospect could boost trade value thanks to Oli Marmol

The St. Louis Cardinals are going to trade this top prospect eventually, the question is just when.

Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

It's been an interesting spring training for the St. Louis Cardinals, an organization which opted to extend manager Oli Marmol despite his last-place finish in 2023. Marmol made more blunders than we can count last season, but the Cardinals must see something in him to give him this kind of trust despite what the optics might suggest.

On that note, Marmol has the final say in any roster battles this spring. Dylan Carlson was informed he won the starting outfield spot. Carlson, who was available for trade as recently as this offseason, could increase his trade value if things go south in St. Louis.

Victor Scott II was Carlson's main competition, but the latter's status as a former top prospect and his big-league pedigree put him over the top.

“We had some direct conversations of what was needed,” Marmol said of Carlson. “He answered the bell. I think part of it is allowing him an opportunity to show what he’s capable of doing.”

Dylan Carlson wins outfield battle, can improve Cardinals trade value

Carlson hit .271 in spring training with a trio of home runs. He's sound defensively, as well, so Carlson is a known commodity in that department. Still, the 25-year-old has failed to live up to expectations the last few years, which prompted trade talks to begin with. St. Louis has a deep outfield, which would help matters if Carlson were dealt.

Marmol challenged Carlson to improve this offseason. Had he not, he likely would have been sent elsewhere.

“It’s no secret,” Carlson said. “The last couple seasons what I put out wasn’t representative of what I can do. Ultimately, the direction (Marmol and I) both wanted me to go in was to be the explosive and more dynamic player I can be. That includes hitting for power and working on my swing.

Instead, Carlson may finally be in position to become the player the Cardinals think he can be.