Cardinals receive: RHP Tyler Glasnow
Rays receive: OF Dylan Carlson and RHP Gordon Graceffo
Dylan Carlson is such an interesting name to be when it comes to his future with the Cardinals, what his value is around the league, and especially what a team like Tampa Bay would think of him. He's a former top-15 prospect in all of baseball, is a very good defender at all three outfield spots, has mashed left-handed pitching in his career, and still has a lot of untapped potential. Would the Rays want to try and resurrect his career?
It's hard to know how much they have hampered his performance the last two years, but Carlson has been battling through some nagging injuries. He's entering his first year of arbitration this year, so he's still really cheap in terms of salary and will be under contract through the 2026 season. That should be pretty appealing for a number of clubs, and I'd imagine the Rays to be one of them.
There is a lot of risk in trading Carlson while his value is this low. Sure, this could just be who he is as a player, or he could really break out as a hitter soon, and that'll be another outfielder who the Cardinals let get away. Like the deals before though, getting a player like Glasnow makes those risks worth taking.
Gordon Graceffo is an arm that will be ready for big league innings next year, but where does he fall on the pecking order for St. Louis? My guess is at least behind Zack Thompson of their internal options, but possibly even guys like Matthew Liberatore and Dakota Hudson as well. Graceffo has the potential to be a really solid starter for years to come, but could they sacrifice him in order to upgrade their rotation significantly in the present? Having names like Tink Hence, Tekoah Roby, Cooper Hjerpe, Adam Kloffenstein, Sem Roberrse, Max Rajcic, Ian Bedell, and Michael McGreevy helps ease the idea of losing Graceffo in such a deal.
There's a lot of risk baked into this trade for the Rays in terms of the return, but a lot of long-term upside as well here. Again, they also free up about $24 million in payroll, which helps them go after more immediate upgrades as well. I could see them viewing that freed-up salary as the "immediate help" they get in a Glasnow deal and desiring a return that is more future-oriented.
Those four deals, or even mixing or matching some of those names, seem the most realistic to me for different reasons, but there is one more trade, one that gets pretty wild, that I think could help both sides in unique ways.