4 moves the Cardinals can make to get the trade deadline right this time

The St. Louis Cardinals are off to a slow start, but it remains to be seen if they'll be in the mix by the time the trade deadline comes around. Here are cases for the two routes they could take.
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

It may be early in the season, but there's never a bad time to predict what a team might do at the trade deadline. By that time, who the contenders are will be much clearer. As of now, things aren't so obvious.

The St. Louis Cardinals are a team that doesn't exactly have a clear direction at the moment. They're off to a better start than last year, but still are under .500 and in last place in the NL Central.

This year, they can't afford to mess things up at the trade deadline, whether they buy or sell. Here are four moves they could make to get this right.

4. Cardinals can trade one or both of Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson

This is a move that should only be made if they decide to sell. If they keep up their current pace and remain a few games under .500 by the deadline, they should look to sell.

Gibson and Lynn are both on one-year deals with club options for 2025. If the team isn't in contention, these are pieces that contending teams might want to have a look at as they try and bolster their rosters for the stretch run.

Granted, given that they are on one-year deals, they likely won't get anything too substantial in return, similarly to the deals they made last year to trade Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty.

But that doesn't mean they can't still get something good. They could potentially stock up on their prospects and keep improving their pitching depth.

With Shane Bieber out for the season, the Cleveland Guardians are a team that if they are in contention could come calling if they feel they need a little help on the mound.

The Cardinals' pitching hasn't been the problem, but these are valuable assets that could be offered to other teams.

3. Cardinals can trade Paul Goldschmidt

After a bad start to the season, Paul Goldschmidt appears to be finding his groove again. This, like the other option, should only be on the table if they decide to sell, and what they'll do obviously isn't clear.

Goldschmidt is different from Lynn and Gibson in that he brings a lot more value to the table. Though he'll be 37 in September, he also isn't too far removed from his MVP season in 2022.

The Cardinals could get some more controllable pitching options at the deadline to bolster their rotation and fill holes for 2025 and beyond. This is something they should have done last year at the deadline to get Major League ready starters.

St. Louis could check in a team such as the Seattle Mariners, who have a bevy of options on the pitching side like Bryce Miller, Bryan Woo, and Emerson Hancock.

This would be a great way for the Cardinals to put the focus on 2025 and keep the window open for them to win instead of set them back and force them into a rebuild, which is something that is unfathomable for Cardinals fans.

2. Trade for one of the Mariners' young arms

Speaking of the Mariners' young arms, this is something the Cardinals can do if they're in contention as well. Mind you, a Goldschmidt trade would be unlikely, and a trade in this scenario wouldn't get them quite as much in return.

But the Cardinals have depth on the position player side and could potentially dangle pieces such as Dylan Carlson and Alec Burleson to land one of Seattle's young pitchers.

Miller and Woo both have high upside and would greatly benefit the Cardinals' rotation, giving them the upside they need for the future, but also somebody who strengthens the rotation for the stretch run of the 2024 season.

Miller is off to a pretty good start with Seattle, owning a 3-2 record with an ERA of 2.22 in his first five starts of the year. He would be the most likely candidate to be traded for Seattle, as it's going to take a hefty package for any team to land Logan Gilbert, and the Cardinals are often hesitant to part with young talent out of fear of another Randy Arozarena or Adolis Garcia situation coming back to bite them.

1. Trade for J.D. Martinez

The pitching has been the main issue for the Cardinals for the past several years, but that isn't the case this year.

The pitching has been solid while the offense has let them down. Getting Tommy Edman, Matt Carpenter and Dylan Carlson back from the injured list should help them put up some better offensive numbers if they are back at full strength, and the return of Jordan Walker should help too.

But in the event that this does not help them turn things around, they'll be forced to go searching for a bat.

The New York Mets have outperformed expectations so far, but are likely to fall out of contention by the trade deadline. If they sell, look no further than J.D. Martinez as a potential trade candidate.

Martinez would give the Cardinals a much-needed power bat and turn their lineup into a nightmare for opposing pitchers. It might also give them everything they need to drop the hammer on the NL Central and run away with it, becoming a true contender in the National League along with teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Martinez is a veteran on a short-term deal. He won't come cheap but this is a move that could force the Cardinals to step outside of their comfort zone.