St. Louis Cardinals: Four players likely to be traded this offseason

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 12: Jose Martinez #38 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after hitting a double to score a run during the eighth inning of game two of the National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium on October 12, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 12: Jose Martinez #38 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after hitting a double to score a run during the eighth inning of game two of the National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium on October 12, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 07: Daniel Ponce de Leon #62 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates with Matt Wieters #32 after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 07: Daniel Ponce de Leon #62 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates with Matt Wieters #32 after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Daniel Ponce de Leon

First appearing in the Majors last year at the age of 26, Daniel Ponce de Leon still has his rookie status intact after pitching as a spot starter and reliever for the Cardinals in 2019. Ponce de Leon sits in a similar spot as O’Neill as he clearly has potential, but hasn’t been given a very extended look.

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He did replace Michael Wacha for some time in the rotation during the 2019 season but was removed after just a couple of starts. In total, he made just eight starts on the year but was still 16% above average with a 3.70 ERA.

Ponce de Leon spent a lot of the year just sitting in the bullpen waiting to pitch as the long man even though he proved he could perform in the starter’s role or in a short inning reliever. As with O’Neill, how the team treated him shows where he sits.

If Ponce de Leon was a part of the team’s long-term plans, I believe we would’ve seen him in a more prominent role. At the end of the day though, he is a pitcher who has proved he can start and start well. Even at the age of 27, he has value that could be moved for another player.

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