MLB Rumors: Cubs-Bellinger optimism grows, Astros target star, Cardinals strange trade

  • Cardinals pull off a bizarre, rarely seen type of trade
  • Astros are big-game hunting with a hole now in the bullpen
  • Bellinger returning to the Cubs continues to look optimistic

Arizona Diamondbacks v Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Cardinals make strange trade, send James Naile to KBO

It's been a bit of a strange offseason for the St. Louis Cardinals, though it was certainly not unfruitful. However, with John Mozeliak promising what felt like big swings in free agency and on the trade market potentially, the Redbirds have improved the roster but far from dramatically outside of Sonny Gray with the likes of Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn coming in to bolster the rotation.

Despite the question marks that still remain after a relatively odd offseason approach, though, Mozeliak and the Cardinals made their strangest move of the winter yet in the late/early hours of Thursday night or Friday morning.

The Cardinals released a transaction wire move that they'd "transferred" (Re: Traded) 30-year-old right-hander James Naile to the KIA Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). In return, St. Louis will be getting cash considerations.

To be clear, losing Naile isn't a huge blow by any stretch to the Cardinals pitching staff. He's appeared in the majors in only two seasons in his career, 2022 and 2023. Over that span, the righty has only taken the mound in 17 games while producing a 7.40 ERA with a 5.17 FIP and a 1.89 WHIP. That's not exactly a pillar of the bullpen that St. Louis is sending to the KBO.

That, however, doesn't change the bizarre nature of the trade. While we often see clubs ink Japanese and Korean players to free agent deals when they are agreed to be posted, seeing an ostensible trade with a KBO or NPB team is exceedingly rare, adding another curious little wrinkle to this Cardinals offseason.