Trade #2 - St. Louis transforms their lineup
Cardinals receive: OF Luis Robert Jr.
White Sox receive: 2B Nolan Gorman, RHP Tink Hence, OF Victor Scott II, RHP Gordon Graceffo, and RHP Sem Robberse
The Cardinals offense is strong, and I'm not in the camp of Cardinals' followers who believes they need to make changes here - unless it's for a talent like Luis Robert Jr.
Robert is just 26 years old and is already one of the best players in baseball. He plays a quality center field for the White Sox, but more importantly, he mashes the baseball. In 2023, Robert slashed .264/.315/.542 with 38 HR and 80 RBI for Chicago while stealing 20 bases as well. He's a superstar talent and is really putting things together now.
Not only is Robert young, mashing the baseball, and playing good defense at a premium position, but he also has one of the team friendliest contracts in baseball. He's locked up for another four years, making just $12.5 million and $15 million in 2024 and 2025, and then has two club options in 2026 and 2027 at just $20 million a piece. If Robert was hitting the open market during those club option years, he'd be getting a long-term deal in the $30 million annual value range.
If you thought a package for Cease was pricing, Robert is going to be a whole other level. I'm not sure the White Sox would even entertain a deal that does not involve Jordan Walker or Lars Nootbaar, but I crafted a strong package around Nolan Gorman in this scenario.
Along with the power-hitting lefty, the White Sox would once again receive Hence and Graceffo, but this time they would also get one of the more exciting prospects in baseball in Victor Scott II as well.
With Robert, Walker, and Nootbaar patrolling the Cardinals outfield long-term, Scott becomes more expendable for St. Louis and offers the White Sox a third exciting player in this package to build around. Scott can slot into center field for the White Sox sometime before the end of 2024. Although he does not have the power or overall hitting potential that Robert has, he would play Gold Glove-caliber defense and lead the league in stolen bases. Quite the replacement if you ask me.
Since Robert only makes $12.5 million this year, he really doesn't cut into the Cardinals plans to upgrade their pitching, but oh boy, look at the lineup they are able to put out on the field with him.
LF Lars Nootbaar
1B Paul Goldschmidt
CF Luis Robert Jr.
3B Nolan Arenado
C Willson Contreras
RF Jordan Walker
2B Brendan Donovan
DH Alec Burleson
SS Masyn Winn
I don't think there is a better 1-7 in all of baseball offensively if the Cardinals pulled that off. Robert also helps stabilize the Cardinals'' outfield defense as well, and adds another speed threat to their mix. Again, I could see this package being heavier, but it's fun to dream about and something the Cardinals have to at least consider.