St. Louis Cardinals: Could Dylan Carlson be Trade Deadline trade bait?
Dylan Carlson is a rising star in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. With the July Trade Deadline approaching, could the 20-year-old outfielder become trade bait to address the shortcomings with the current major league roster?
As we all know by now, the St. Louis Cardinals have issues with their current roster. The top end of the rotation is wildly inconsistent, they just lost their closer, and they don’t hit. Some of these issues will have to work themselves out internally or just with time. However, some of these issues could be addressed with a trade or trades.
Some of the trade rumors attached to the Cardinals have been with players like the Giants Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, or the Blue Jays Marcus Stroman. In a recent piece at Redbird Rants, my fellow Contributor, Joshua Magee, brought up Ken Giles of the Blue Jays.
To address any roster shortcomings, the Cardinals will need to give up prospects that are attractive to other franchises. In other words, young-controllable-organizational top ten prospects. That’s where Dylan Carlson comes in.
Dylan Carlson on the Rise
Dylan Carlson was drafted by the Cardinals, 33rd overall, in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft and was then assigned to the GCL Cardinals. In 50 games, the switch-hitting Carlson, hit a slash line of .251/.313/.404 with 3 HR and 22 RBI.
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Carlson then spent the entire 2017 season with the Peoria Chiefs in the A Midwest League, where he hit a slash line of .240/.342/.347 with 7 HR and 42 RBI in 115 games. Although he started 2018 back in Peoria, after only 13 games, he was promoted to the HIgh-A Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida State League. There, in 99 games, he hit a slash line of .247/.345/.386, with 9 HR and 53 RBI.
After an impressive Spring Training, the 20-year-old was assigned to the Springfield Cardinals in the AA Texas League to start the 2019 season. Thus far in 72 games, he has hit a slash line of .283/.363/.500 with 11 HR and 44 RBI. Additionally, he was named a Texas League All-Star and participated in the Home Run Derby.
To further add to the accolades Carlson is receiving, he was selected to play in the 2019 All-Star Futures Game along with Nolan Gorman.
Where does Dylan Carlson stand in the organization?
Dylan Carlson is in an organization that has several attractive outfield prospects ahead of him. The Cardinals also have on the current roster, players who may be with the team for the foreseeable future. Therefore any path for Carlson to the major league roster may be blocked or at least stinted for the next few years.
Currently, the Cardinals are facing a decision on whether to extend Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna is the Cardinals most productive bat in the current lineup and if they do extend him, another left fielder will not be needed.
Dexter Fowler is signed through 2021 and the Cardinals are unlikely to find anyone to take his contract off their hands. That really only leaves Center Field as a possible future home for Carlson. Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill, and Lane Thomas are battling for playing time at Center Field on the current active roster. Meanwhile, Randy Arozarena, who’s batting .370 at Memphis, is waiting for his turn to be added to the roster and called up.
Trade Bait or a future Cardinal Outfielder?
Other than Nolan Gorman, Dylan Carlson is the most attractive prospect in the Cardinals minor league system. For any organization wanting to go ‘young’, Carlson would be an alluring piece in a trade.
Some of the organizations that could be drawn to a prospect like Carlson are Toronto, San Francisco, or New York (Mets). They all have enticing starting pitching that could help the Cardinals in a stretch run and may be interested in a package that included Carlson.
The other consideration would be if the Cardinals became sellers instead of buyers at the Trade Deadline. If the Cardinals continue to meander through the season, becoming sellers may be a real possibility and the best move for the future. In this case, Dylan Carlson would be more attractive to keep than use as trade bait.
To wrap up…
A decision will have to soon be made soon whether to become buyers or sellers. The All-Star break is next week and two weeks later is the July 31st Trade Deadline. So time is running out on the Cardinals front office.
If John Mozeliak, Mike Shildt and company still believe in this team, then Dylan Carlson could be the bait in a trade that may bring much-needed help in the second half of the season. Whether the help would be in the rotation, bullpen, or lineup, Carlson should draw significant interest from other organizations