The Cardinals are officially set to sell at this year's trade deadline. The 2023 season has not gone according to plan, as the team sits in fourth place in the NL Central. This is all due to the fact that the weaknesses in the pitching staff were not addressed in the offseason.
While it may be beating a dead horse at this point, it's obvious that the pitching is to blame for the Cardinals struggles, and had it been addressed, things would be much different. But even with the Cardinals ready to sell, they're expected to get some solid pitchers in return for players they may ship out.
In that case, the Cardinals should look no further than the Seattle Mariners. Seattle has a ton of young pitchers, one of which is of interest to the Cardinals, per Derrick Goold. The pitcher in question is Logan Gilbert. Bryan Woo is also a possibility, but Goold notes that either he or Gilbert would command a massive haul. Bryce Miller however, is somebody that really isn't being talked about who could be a fit for the Cardinals, potentially at a slightly lower cost.
It's worth noting that any "buying" moves the Cardinals make will be geared towards 2024, with this season already being a lost cause. But the Mariners do have plenty of high-upside, cost-controlled starters that could be fits for the Cardinals. From there, the Cardinals can enter the offseason with a few starters locked into their spots for next year as they then focus their efforts on adding an ace. At least that's what we'll be hoping for.
In this piece, we will explore three of the Mariners young starters and what a potential package for each one may look like.
Scenario 1: Cardinals acquire Logan Gilbert for Nolan Gorman, Lars Nootbaar, and Michael McGreevy
This would be a painful trade to make because of what the Cardinals would have to give up. But before anybody states that Nolan Gorman is "untouchable," it's important to note that if you're going to get a big piece, you have to give up talented players, and the deal has to be uncomfortable to a certain degree.
The Cardinals recently said that Lars Nootbaar was untouchable as well, but the same goes for him too. St. Louis hasn't been bold enough at trade deadlines or in offseasons for quite some time. It's time that their philosophy changed a little bit. By throwing in McGreevy, the Cardinals could put together just the package to bring in Gilbert, though given their recent track record, I would say this deal is unlikely.
However, it would set them up well for 2024 and beyond, as Gilbert has several years of team control left. The Mariners are also in need of some help in the middle infield, which Gorman could provide
Scenario 2: Cardinals trade Brendan Donovan and Dylan Carlson For Bryan Woo
This would be a slightly easier deal to make, but as Goold mentioned, Woo will also come at a high price. With Brendan Donovan not being able to throw and surgery being a possibility, his value could go down a bit. However, he is a valuable commodity and would give Seattle a much-needed offensive boost.
Woo has struggled a bit this season to the tune of a 4.91 ERA, but possesses an electric fastball that can touch the upper 90s. Seattle also could use some outfield help. Nootbaar may not be required for this deal, but Dylan Carlson does have value.
Scenario 3: Cardinals get Bryce Miller for Brendan Donovan and Alec Burleson
In my estimation, I would say that Miller would be the least expensive of the three aforementioned Seattle starters. That doesn't mean he'll come cheap, but if picked up, he could project as a potential No. 3 starter. The 24-year-old is 7-3 this year with an ERA of 3.96.
Somebody like Donovan or Gorman would likely still be required here, but I could also see Alec Burleson potentially being included in a package for Miller. It's unclear what kind of package it would take, but Miller seems to be the cheapest of the bunch.