2. Capitalize on the value of outgoing or redundant talent
Let's a flashback to the 2016 trade deadline and take a look at the New York Yankees. After going 87-75 in 2015 and losing in the Wild Card Series, the Yankees had an aging core and were heading toward missing the playoffs that season. Plenty of people were calling for Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman to be fired, and a full-fledged rebuild was being shouted from the rooftops by many.
Instead, the Yankees retooled their roster, lost in the ALCS in 2017 to the infamous Houston Astros cheating scandal, and have made the playoffs every year since, including two more ALCS appearances. So, how did they do it?
Well, Brian Cashman credits their decision to sell some pieces at the 2016 trade deadline as part of the catalyst for this turnaround. Check out this excerpt from Bryan Hoch's piece on MLB.com in 2018.
""In what Brian Cashman remembers as a series of his most difficult discussions with ownership, the veteran general manager received approval to dispatch several high-profile assets 2 1/2 years ago, having convinced managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner that his team was not strong enough to win the 2016 World Series.- Bryan Hoch
Acting as sellers was foreign to the Yankees...but Cashman points to Monday's acquisition of left-hander James Paxton as evidence that those bold non-waiver Trade Deadline moves are continuing to pay dividends.""
Here is some context to what Hoch is referring to here. At the 2016 trade deadline, the Yankees traded away relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller in two separate deals that netted them high-end prospects. Justus Sheffield was one of the names that came over in the Miller deal, and Cashman was later able to flip Sheffield in a deal to acquire James Paxton to bolster their rotation in the 2018 offseason.
The Chapman deal also brought in quite the haul for the Yankees, netting them top prospect Gleyber Torres, outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford, as well as reliever Adam Warren.
The Cardinals have multiple assets at this deadline that could net them really good returns and likely would not be on the team next year anyways. Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, and Jordan Hicks are all impending free agents, with Montgomery and Hicks being two of the best arms available this July. Flaherty, especially due to such a thin pitching market, should net a decent return as well.
It's not fun selling at the deadline, but the potential impact it can have on the success of future teams makes it essential. They do not need to go out and sell on guys like Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, but they do need to capitalize on the value of these players and potentially names like Tyler O'Neill and Chris Stratton. If the Cardinals want to retain one of Montgomery, Hicks, or Flaherty for 2024 and beyond, they can look to retain them in free agency.