5 dream trade targets for the St. Louis Cardinals

These players may not be the shiniest of trade candidates, but they would help the team make a playoff push in a tremendous way.
Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox
Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages
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Dream candidate #4: LHP Garrett Crochet

All year, Cardinal fans have been covetous when looking at what the San Francisco Giants did with their former reliever, Jordan Hicks. The Giants did what the Cardinals couldn't do: return Hicks to his rightful spot as a starting pitcher. There's no guarantee Hicks continues to pitch the way he has once he eclipses a certain amount of innings, but for the time being, it's a masterstroke by the team.

The same can be said of the Chicago White Sox and Garrett Crochet. The Sox prepared him this past offseason to be a starting pitcher, and he hasn't let them down. He's already thrown 88.2 innings this year -- more than half of his career total. That's a bit of a concern down the road for this year. However, Crochet isn't a free agent until after the 2026 season. That gives whichever team acquires him 2.5 years of control.

What makes Crochet a true dream candidate would be his strikeout abilities. He leads the American League in strikeouts right now, and he has been sending batters back to the dugout with at a ridiculous 35.2% clip. A left-handed starter with a propensity to strike batters out is something the Cardinals haven't had since Jaime Garcia, and he pales in comparison to Crochet.

Crochet's value is the highest it will ever be right now, and there are plenty of teams with better farm systems who are in search of a top-end starting pitcher. John Mozeliak will have to bring his A-game (and top prospects) to the table when dealing for Crochet. It may be a pipe dream, but acquiring Crochet would vaunt the Cardinals into a playoff conversation they haven't been in for quite some time.