3 trade ideas for Cardinals pitcher Chris Stratton

Stratton is likely to be moved at the deadline, what kind of return could the Cardinals get for him?
New York Yankees v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Two
New York Yankees v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Two / Jeff Le/GettyImages
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Starting pitcher Chris Stratton was a trade deadline acquisition for the Cardinals last season as he, along with Jose Quintana, was acquired from the Pirates. He has a reputation of a relief pitcher who can take the ball whenever you need him and eat innings which is what the Cardinals were attracted to last year. In 20 appearances with St.Louis last season he was 5-0 with a 2,78 ERA.

He has not seen that same success this year, especially recently as he's needed to pitch in more high leverage situations with the lack of options in the Cardinals bullpen, Stratton has seen more success in recent years as a low-leverage reliever. Despite the recent slump, Stratton could still be an intriguing piece for contending teams that need somebody who can give them innings out of the pen.

We might see a trade somewhat similar to what we saw last year, where the Cardinals got what they desperately needed which was a starter in Quintana but had Stratton as a compliment piece to help the team in a lesser role. The Cardinals should have more attractive names that'll interest teams, names like Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks, Paul DeJong, Dylan Carlson, etc. It's possible that the Cardinals will offer Stratton along with one of those bigger names in one trade. There is a lot of options, here is some mock trades involving teams that could use someone like Stratton, but have the minor league resources to help the Cardinals' future plans.

Cardinals trade idea No. 1

Cardinals trade Jordan Hicks and Chris Stratton to the Rangers for Mitch Bratt ( Rangers #16 prospect according to MLB.com) and Yerry Rodriguez

The Texas Rangers are clinging to their division lead in the AL West as the class of that division in recent history, the Houston Astros, are closing in on the division lead. With Houston winning the AL West in 5 of the last 6 seasons, and the Rangers failing to make the playoffs in the last 6 years, they should be determined to make some moves to stay ahead of their state rivals.

Despite the Rangers leading their division for almost the entire season, they have the 4th worst bullpen ERA in all of baseball. That is why the Rangers didn't waste any time this deadline, as they acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Royals as a late inning reliever. But they will likely need more, even their legendary manager Bruce Bochy has admitted to this so we should expect them to find another bullpen arm.

Jordan Hicks would be a nice addition to the Rangers bullpen as a reliable arm late in games. Texas already has Will Smith, Chapman, and Brock Burke as late game options, but they are all lefties, Hicks would be a great compliment. It was reported recently by Katie Woo of the Athletic that the Cardinals are working on signing Hicks to a contract extension. And one major problem with the Rangers bullpen in recent games has been with walks, Stratton could fill that void as he has only walked 16 batters in 52+ innings with St.Louis, and could slide into a middle relief role with experience in that role.

On the return, Mitch Bratt is one of many top pitching prospects that the Cardinals could show interest in if they engage in trade talks with Texas. Unfortunately a handful of the Rangers' top pitching prospects have a history with injuries, most notably Kumar Rocker, including Bratt who is currently on the 7-day IL but is expected to return soon.

Bratt is a 20-year-old left-handed pitcher from Canada who is currently pitching in High A, you may remember him pitching in the World Baseball Classic against the United States this year? He's a better pitcher than that, you can't really hold that performance against him. One plus with Bratt is in his three years he has a 11.1 K/9 rate, and the Cardinals are in need of pitchers with swing-and-miss stuff.

Yerry Rodriguez is also a pitcher currently on the Rangers big league team. He has a 5.68 ERA in 12 appearances and is only 25 years old, who could slide into the Cardinals bullpen with Hicks and Stratton departing. And with the current state of the Cardinals pen, where there's not a lot of trust in them protecting leads, it'll be an open interview with anyone who can consistently get outs. And with guys like Stratton and Hicks potentially on the move, there will be a lot of opportunities for other pitchers to pitch in high-leverage situations for St.Louis the rest of the season.