St. Louis Cardinals: Harrison Bader as a trade chip
By Trevor Hooth
The St. Louis Cardinals number three ranked prospect, Harrison Bader, is quietly putting together a very solid season with the Memphis Redbirds.
It is somewhat surprising Harrison Bader remains in triple-A with the ups and downs happening in the St. Louis Cardinals outfield, considering another outfield prospect, Magnueris Sierra, skipped triple-A to make his MLB debut.
Through the first 67 games of the season, Bader is hitting .294 with 12 home runs. That is a pretty good year with the bat. It would make sense to get the call to St. Louis at some point this seaso, should he make it that far.
If the team decides to become buyers to try to push their way to the top of their division, then there will be prospects on the move. It is entirely possible for the St. Louis Cardinals to buyers, considering how weak the NL Central is this year and their proximity to first place.
The first prospect I see on the move, in this case, is Bader. He provides quite a bit of value to other teams. This means the Cardinals can go after higher level talent offered. Some project Bader is ready to slide into a lineup now, which adds even more to what he is worth.
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Parting ways with such a highly rated prospect will not be easy, but it makes sense in this case.
Between Stephen Piscotty, Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, Sierra and Jose Martinez, there is not an easy spot for Bader to break into the big leagues.
It also means the St. Louis Cardinals will have their bases covered if they give up a young outfielder.
Therein lies Sierra’s importance to the equation.
He is also a top ten prospect in the organization. Through his eight games in the Major Leagues, he is hitting .375. He is showing he can perform.
That loosens up the reigns to shop Bader.
This is not a one way street though. Having Bader gives the St. Louis Cardinals the option to sell Sierra if they want to. It is likely one of the two will go if the team decides to sell, but not both players. The one who stays will more than likely be the one who is worth least to other teams, which would be Sierra.
Given the choice between the two, I think Sierra is the prospect to keep anyway. His speed and contact ability at his age make him a very interesting future outfielder. He has already proven he can hit. He is able to keep the line moving. While Sierra doesn’t have the power of Bader, power is not something essential to the lineup.
Either way, there are two truths. Neither of them will go cheaply. Securing the right price is the most important thin. If one does go, the team will still be fine. In fact, I would say they become a better team for doing it.
Next: Alex Reyes making progress
All of this means nothing if the St. Louis Cardinals are not buyers at the trade deadline. So that is largely up to what happens over the next few weeks. Having the flexibility to sell a prospect like Bader could mean a realistic shot at the playoffs. It could also mean good things for the future of the franchise.