4 Cardinals players who could be traded before Opening Day

These four Cardinals players could be traded before Opening Day as the Cardinals look to rebound from an abysmal 2023 season.

Jul 17, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dylan Carlson (3) is
Jul 17, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dylan Carlson (3) is / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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The St. Louis Cardinals quickly got to work this offseason following their embarrassing 2023 campaign, inking Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, and Kyle Gibson to contracts before Thanksgiving. These pitchers should improve what was arguably the league's worst starting rotation in 2023, but St. Louis has done little else.

The Cardinals traded for Andrew Kittredge and a couple of other depth arms while also selecting Ryan Fernandez in the Rule-5 Draft, but things have been mostly quiet in St. Louis since those three starting pitching signings.

The Cardinals are undoubtedly a better team than they were at the end of last season, but that's not saying much. There's a good chance they're still the third or even fourth-best team in the NL Central without more upgrades. With it being unlikely that the Cardinals spend much more in free agency, they could turn to the trade market to fill some of their needs. If they do make some trades before Opening Day, these four players could be wearing new uniforms before the Cardinals begin the 2024 season.

4. The Cardinals should trade Dylan Carlson before Opening Day

Dylan Carlson has had a bit of a rocky MLB career thus far. He was drafted in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Cardinals and would eventually become their top prospect. He'd have an excellent first full season in which he would hit 18 home runs with a .780 OPS and finish as an NL Rookie of the Year finalist, finishing third in the balloting.

Unfortunately for Carlson, since that solid rookie season, things have gone downhill. He had just a .695 OPS in 2022 and a .651 OPS this past season while also dealing with injuries which limited him to 76 games played. In years where the 25-year-old is supposed to be getting better, things only seem to be going in the wrong direction.

Now, to further stunt Carlson's development, he's lost his starting spot. Lars Nootbaar, Tommy Edman, and Jordan Walker are expected to start most of the time in the Cardinals outfield, leaving Carlson to be a bench player. While he hasn't played much better than that the last couple of years, he's a switch-hitter and a solid defender with clear potential.

Carlson has seen his name appear in trade rumors in the last couple of years, but the Cardinals have held onto him. Rather than diminishing his value by making him a fourth outfielder, the RedBirds should trade him in a deal for a starting pitcher.