3 - I want the Cardinals to keep Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan
Many of the next items on my Christmas wishlist will likely involve the Cardinals making trades to upgrade the team. However, there are two players who have been thrown around in trade talks that I don't want the Cardinals parting with if they don't have to: Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan.
Nolan Gorman's prolific power at second base speaks for itself. Had he stayed healthy in 2023, he almost certainly would've reached the 30-home run mark and possibly even approached 40. The power he possesses from the left side is extremely rare and extremely valuable. Moreover, the Cardinals have been burned too many times by giving up on young and talented bats too early. Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia never had much time to prove themselves at the Major League level before blossoming into ALCS MVP winners on other teams. Gorman, however, has proven himself to be a key contributor for the Cardinals next year, and giving up on them would be a more obvious mistake than Garcia or Arozarena ever were.
Brendan Donovan is the other player coveted by many teams in the trade market. While none of his tools are quite as strong as Gorman's power, his ability to play almost every position well, hitting for a high average, and elite plate discipline make him extremely valuable as well. Donovan seemingly robbed his teammate Tommy Edman of the utility Gold Glove award in 2022, but his positioning as the ultimate utility player makes his defense arguably more valuable than Edman's. If the Cardinals had to part with one of Gorman or Donovan however, I would choose Donovan simply because none of his individual tools aren't unique and are thus replaceable, but Donvan's versatility makes it hard to part with him.
If the Cardinals want to bolster the rotation or bullpen via trade, they should avoid trading either Gorman or Donovan but rather unproven prospects. Of course, that's easier said than done, as other teams will covet the two infielders more than any prospects, but I hope Santa Mozeliak can work some Christmas magic and improve the pitching while keeping both Gorman and Donovan.