The Cardinals are going to have a losing record at the August 1 trade deadline. Sure, they play in a weak division, but the Brewers and Reds are far enough ahead that St. Louis has basically no chance at a National League Central crown. And a Wild Card berth is equally as unlikely, with even more teams to leapfrog.
Given their predicament, it makes perfect sense for the Cardinals to trade away all of their pending free agents, and quite possibly more players than that. There's plenty of debate about which players may fall into the latter group, but the upcoming free agencies of Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Chris Stratton, and Jordan Hicks make them completely expendable as St. Louis reloads for 2024.
We've already identified potential landing spots for Montgomery and fellow starting pitcher Flaherty. Stratton is having a solid enough season that some team would be willing to part with a low-level prospect to add him to its bullpen.
But what about Hicks, currently closing for St. Louis, using his 103-mph bullets to zip pitches past flailing batters? Every team could use a fireballer like Hicks, but only potential playoff-bound franchises would be interested in adding a free-agent-to-be to their roster. While this season's standings leave few teams on the outside looking in, a few squads look like better fits than others for Hicks' services.