4 players who are off the trade block since the Cardinals entered the playoff race

The St. Louis Cardinals have held a playoff spot for a few days now. There is more surety in their season. Some former trade candidates are no longer available.
Colorado Rockies v St. Louis Cardinals
Colorado Rockies v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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LHP JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero has been masterful as a high-leverage reliever throughout the season. The lefty reliever has thrown 33.2 innings this year with a 2.41 ERA, 0.891 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 172. His 20 holds are second only to Hunter Harvey of the Washington Nationals, and he's been a key fixture late in games for Oliver Marmol.

Romero has virtually shut down left-handed batters, as they are slashing .150/.227/.150 against him. He's struck out over 33% of left-handed batters that he's faced. While righties are faring a bit better against him, he's still been able to hold them at bay with a .721 OPS and a .238 batting average against.

Romero has been used the most of any Cardinal reliever, but he's outside of the top 30 relievers in innings pitched. What may cause him fatigue later in the year would be how often he's pitched in back-to-back games. A third of his games have come on consecutive nights, and he's struggled in those outings.

Regardless of when he's been used for the most part, Romero is an essential part of the bullpen. In my dream deadline, Mozeliak swaps Helsley out for some usable players, similar to what happened with Paul Sewald last year and Josh Hader 2 years ago. This would bump JoJo Romero and the next player on this list up in the closer pecking order.

Romero's ability to put the stamp down on left-handed batters makes him no longer available to other teams, especially if the Cardinals intend on making a big push this postseason. He isn't a free agent until 2027, so he has plenty of team control left.