5 blockbuster Winter Meetings trades to make the St. Louis Cardinals true contenders

The St. Louis Cardinals need to continue to press the gas heading into the Winter Meetings, and one of these blockbuster deals would ace their offseason.

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago White Sox
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago White Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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How about adding an elite arm to the Cardinals' bullpen?

Cardinals receive: RHP Emmanuel Clase

Guardians receive: UTL Tommy Edman, OF Tyler O'Neill, LHP Cooper Hjerpe, and RHP Ian Bedell

The Guardians are open to moving both Shane Bieber and Emmanuel Clase this offseason. While we covered trades to acquire both names in a package together on the site already, I'd rather just go get Clase and pass on Bieber.

Bieber is not a front-line starter anymore. Maybe he can pitch like a number two again, but any team acquiring him is likely expecting him to be more like a number three starter. That's not the kind of arm I want the Cardinals to add to their rotation.

Clase has a 2.00 ERA in 244 career games (238.1 innings) while striking out 8.9 batters per nine innings. His stuff is fifthly (which is why no one seems to score off of him) and he'd create the best relief pitcher duo in baseball alongside Ryan Helsley.

I'm not sure the package I put together is strong enough for Clase, but the amount of control the Guardians are getting here is really nice for their long-term outlook. But part of the reason that Clase is so highly valued is his own control, just take a look at the contract he is on for the foreseeable future.

2024: $2.5 million
2025: $4.5 million
2026: $6 million
2027: $10 million club option
2028: $10 million club option

Five years of control for a proven, truly elite reliever who doesn't even make $10 million a year until 2027 and 2028 is bonkers. Edwin Diaz and Josh Hader are both guys who will be paid close to $20 million or more annually. The Cardinals get a guy on their level for a bargain of the price.

If I were the Cardinals, findiing a way to get Clase would be huge for this bullpen, and they would also not be adding much salary here either. Depending on what the package takes, they can still go swing a trade for Glasnow or Cease, and we truly have a World Series favorite on our hands.