St. Louis Cardinals: Four darkhorse candidates to be traded this winter

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 14: Harrison Bader #48, Harrison Bader #47, and Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after beating the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 in game two of a doubleheader at Miller Park on September 14, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 14: Harrison Bader #48, Harrison Bader #47, and Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after beating the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 in game two of a doubleheader at Miller Park on September 14, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Peoria Chiefs shortstop Delvin Perez (33) holds at second base to tag Wisconsin Timber Rattlers right fielder Jesœs Lujano (7) in the MiLB game between the Peoria Chiefs and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium on May 22, 2019. The Timber Rattlers won 7-2.Chris Kohley/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Timberrattlers 052219 161
Peoria Chiefs shortstop Delvin Perez (33) holds at second base to tag Wisconsin Timber Rattlers right fielder Jesœs Lujano (7) in the MiLB game between the Peoria Chiefs and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium on May 22, 2019. The Timber Rattlers won 7-2.Chris Kohley/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Timberrattlers 052219 161 /

Delvin Perez

What a strange few years it has been for Delvin Perez. Falling in the 2016 draft due to questions about PEDs, it looked like the Cardinals had stolen a top-level talent. While Perez is still only 21-years old, that evaluation is looking less likely.

Perez has fallen out of practically all the top prospect rankings. He has remained in the lower-levels of the minor leagues, and has struggled to hit at each one. While the Cardinals would love to give him more time to develop, unfortunately Perez is now eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

Top catching prospect Ivan Herrera, top pitching prospect Angel Rondon, and upper-level middle-infielders Evan Mendoza and Kramer Robertson are just a few of the players the Cardinals need to protect from the Rule 5 draft this season. Unless the Cardinals make a lot of moves very quickly, it doesn’t look like there will be room on the 40-man roster for a light-hitting 21-year old at single-A.

The Cardinals might do nothing and just hope that no one selects Delvin Perez. There is still a chance that they trade some of the infielders ahead of him. Most likely, they will be forced to sell-low on Delvin and hope to acquire some talent in return. Maybe the change of scenery will help the talented young player produce, but time has run out on Delvin Perez being a key contributor on the St. Louis Cardinals.

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