5 starters the Cardinals could trade for without giving up their best young bats

If the Cardinals can thread the needle and acquire one of these starters on the trade market this offseason, they may not have to give up their best young talent
Tampa Bay Rays v San Francisco Giants
Tampa Bay Rays v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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Tyler Glasnow

While Bieber lacks the top-end talent and strikeout stuff he used to have, Tyler Glasnow is dripping with it. In 17 starts this year, Glasnow has a 3.07 ERA while striking out 12.1 batters per nine innings. He just put on a masterful 6-inning, 14-strikeout performance against the Red Sox that showcased just how great he is.

I know, Glasnow always seems to have an injury issue each year. His career high in innings is just 111.2 (which he may eclipse this year), so you cannot rely on him as your only front-line caliber starter. But if you can bring him for a small trade package, he's worth the risk.

The Tampa Bay Rays are in a really difficult situation this offseason. The Wander Franco situation is a dark cloud for the organization right now, and outside of that, they have numerous pitching injuries they'll have to overcome next season. So why would they want to trade Glasnow?

The 30-year-old is due $25 million in his final year of club control next year, and I cannot imagine the Rays wanting to commit that much salary to him if they have so many other holes to fill. Getting value in return for him and freeing up that money will help them revamp their roster on the fly this offseason.

The Rays highest-paid player this year is Zach Eflin at $11 million. I think they would much rather sign multiple names at that price range than commit $25 million to a high with all of the upside in the world, but should he get injured, they lose a player who makes a large chunk of their payroll. With the way the Rays churn out arms, they are a club that can bank on their quantity providing quality.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, cannot bank on that this offseason. They need to acquire two starters with the kind of stuff to lead a rotation, and they cannot just bank on a Zach Eflin-type overperforming for them. Taking a risk on Glasnow makes all of the sense in the world.

Think about it. Which is a scarier thought? Giving out a long-term megadeal to someone like Aaron Nola or Blake Snell and hoping they can live up to the contract? Or bringing in Glasnow for one year and deciding if you want to bring him back next offseason?

Assuming the Rays shop him around, they'll surely get strong offers for him, but nothing like what is rumored to be needed to acquire the likes of Logan Gilbert or Dylan Cease. Glasnow could easily outpitch each of those guys next year, but their club control makes them far more valuable as assets.

Tommy Edman feels like the potential headliner in the deal, especially with their uncertainty at shortstop moving forward. Ivan Herrera could fill a long-term need for them at catcher. Tyler O'Neill would be a potential thumper for their lineup next season, or Dylan Carlson could be a buy-low candidate for them. Alec Burleson is another bat that they may really like the idea of adding to their lineup.

I really do think 2-3 of those names would get a deal done. These are not insignificant pieces, but avoiding giving up any of Walker, Nootbaar, Donovan, Gorman, and Winn while also getting a player as talented as Glasnow is a huge win. The Cardinals have to get rid of some of their surplus position players this offseason to upgrade their pitching - why not swing for the fences with a name like Glasnow?

Again, the Rays do not have to trade Glasnow. Even with how good he is pitching though, I cannot imagine the Rays paying him $25 million next year and then losing him to a qualifying offer the next offseason. Cashing in on his value now and freeing up that money makes all the sense in the world.