Cardinals receive: RHP Dylan Cease
White Sox receive: RHP Tink Hence, OF Chase Davis, OF/1B Alec Burleson, and RHP Sem Robberse
While the first trade was centered around a fourth-year player and a top prospect, this package is the typical package a rebuilding team would covet, and is again one I would strongly consider if I were the Cardinals.
Hence again headlines the deal here, and as a top-50 prospect in all of baseball, that's quite the starting point. The next biggest piece of the puzzle is the Cardinals' first-round pick from this year's draft, Chase Davis. Davis projects to be a left-handed slugger who could stay in center field but likely ends up in one of the corners instead. He has a very high ceiling as a potential power-hitting outfield bat, but there's also no guarantee he will reach those heights. He is likely two or three years away from St. Louis as well, but would be appealing to Chicago in their rebuild.
Alec Burleson is a guy who is going to generate interest around baseball, as he flew through the minor leagues with his hit tool and has some power that remains untapped in his swing. His first full season was not as promising as the Cardinals had hoped from a production standpoint, but his batted-ball stats are very encouraging.
On top of getting two highly valued prospects, the White Sox would now come away with a promising left-handed bat as well, giving them three valuable pieces long-term for the club. The Cardinals would love to hold onto Burleson long-term, but their position player depth allows them to get creative with whom they hold onto.
Sem Robberse came over to the Cardinals in the Jordan Hicks trade and is currently in Memphis at just 22 years old. He doesn't have a crazy high ceiling as a prospect but could provide the White Sox with a solid rotation arm for years to come or an eventual bullpen piece.
This is a lot of prospect capital to give up, but that is the cost of acquiring top-end starters with control. I think there are a couple of reasons why the Cardinals should be willing to do this though. First, they were sellers at the trade deadline for the first time in a very long time. Because of that, they were able to add Thomas Saggese, Tekoah Roby, Adam Kloffenstein, Drew Rom, Cesar Prieto, Zack Showalter, John King, and Robberse to the organization, rather than parting with prospect capital to upgrade the club. They bolstered their system at the deadline not just for the future, but for trades as well.
The second reason is their prime draft positioning in this upcoming draft. They'll likely have a top-5 pick for the first time since the 1990s, and will instantly add a top-100 prospect in baseball to their organization come next draft. They'll also select highly in every round this year, so even if they lose a second-round pick for signing a starter this offseason, they'll still be positioned to add more talent than they typically get the opportunity to.
Losing prospect capital is hard, but with the Cardinals' goals to win in 2024, it may be a necessary evil. The remainder of the deals will center around valuable young talent already on the Cardinals' big league roster, and although they could go those paths, they seem a bit counterproductive for what St. Louis would want to do in the near future. Count me as team "send prospects and/or Tommy Edman" to the White Sox, but there are other deals that would be on the table.