Super utility Tommy Edman
This one will hurt a bit. I also don't even know if the Cardinals would entertain the idea of trading Tommy, but if they do, he would bring back much higher value. Tommy, contrary to most of the players listed before in this article, has lived up to his potential. Tommy has also only landed on the IL once in his major league career, that was this year to a wrist injury, and since his return in early August, all he has done is mash slugging .923 with 4 home runs. So it doesn't seem to still be bothering him much.
Edman is a Cardinal true and through. He was drafted and developed in the system. He plays hard and isn't afraid to get dirty. He already has two 30+ stolen base seasons and actually leads the all-time Cardinals' stolen base percentage, for what it's worth, at 86.24. He won a gold glove his first year starting full-time at second base in 2021 and arguably could have won the utility award last year if it wasn't for his teammate, Brendan Donovan. He apparently took that as a challenge and slid into center field this season for the Cardinals to bolster his already 5 (now 6) positions he can play on the diamond if need be. Heck, he finished 2022 with a 6.3 WAR tied with Mike Trout and ahead of guys like Julio Rodriguez and Freddie Freeman. All this and he's still under contract until 2026.
Now that sounds like a player a team might build around. Someone who would be a mainstay per se in the lineup with their versatility and health. The thing is long term, I don't think Edman projects well as an outfielder and I don't believe the Cardinals want him there long term either. The Cardinals also have young slugger Nolan Gorman, who they don't want to block, at second base. Okay, so that leaves shortstop, right? Well, that's where Masyn Winn is going to be, for a long time. That only leaves a platoon role for a player who would be highly coveted and starting on many other teams. Oh yeah, there's Brendan Donovan there for that too and Donovan is two years younger (26) and won't be a free agent until 2028. So where does Edman play?
It's perfectly reasonable to think that after this upcoming offseason, Edman could open 2024 starting in one of the outfield spots, especially if one of the current outfielders is traded. It's also worth considering one of the other mentioned infielders get traded (Gorman, Donovan), though I believe it unlikely, or Winn struggles in spring next season and isn't ready, again I don't believe that will be the case. As much as it may hurt Cardinal fans to think of Edman in another uniform for 2024 robbing hits and getting on-base for say, I don't know, the Dodgers? It also may be one of the most surefire ways to guarantee the Cardinals get some real talent back in the trade market in the offseason.