The Cardinals need to acquire big time talent, and these players could be packaged to improve their roster.
The St. Louis Cardinals are ready to make moves this offseason, with John Mozeliak already identifying catcher, bullpen, and lineup stability, preferably in the form of a left-handed bat. The club is open to upgrading their rotation as well, but with five quality starters already, that would likely mean targeting a front-line starter.
The Cardinals are well positioned in the trade market. Jordan Walker and Maysn Winn appear to be untouchable at this point for St. Louis, and their are a variety of arms in their system that likely will not be dealt with four of the five projected starters this season set to hit free agency or retire after 2023.
Still, the Cardinals have an abundance of young talent that teams would find attractive in trades. Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said it would be “astonishing” if St. Louis was not active in the trade market this offseason, which makes sense with their need to consolidate talent into bigger names.
Here are the five best trade assets that the Cardinals could deal this offseason. Guys like Walker and Winn will not be on the list, as baring a shocking move, St. Louis will not be dealing those youngsters. This ranking is based on value, not who is most likely to be traded.
#5 – Juan Yepez
Juan Yepez was a key contributor for St. Louis in his rookie season, slashing .253/.296/.447 with 12 HR and 30 RBI in just 76 games played. At just 24-years old, Yepez still has a lot of room to grow as a hitter and should be a valuable bat in major league lineups for years to come.
Like most names on this list, it’s not that the Cardinals wouldn’t like to have Yepez on their club moving forward, but there is not a clear long-term fit. The corner infield positions are locked up and the club has plenty of corner outfield options as well, with Walker surely locking one of them down soon. Yepez is likely going to have to spend most of his time at the club’s primary DH if he sticks around, but I believe its more likely they use him as a piece for a bigger star.
Clubs around baseball would surely value a player like Yepez. He is more of a liability defensively, but could still find time in the field for whoever is interested. The allure of a bat like his that could give for .260-.280 average in his prime with pop should have teams either calling on Yepez or interested in him when the Cardinals target one of their players. Yepez already has a huge postseason moment on his hands as well.