5 trades that Cardinals could make today to improve their roster immediately
By Josh Jacobs
Getting rotation and bullpen help from the Yankees
The Cardinals trade OF Tyler O'Neill to the Yankees for RHPs Michael King and Clarke Schmidt
I'll preface each of these trades by saying, this isn't necessarily what I would do, but it's the kind of trade that I think could be on the table for the Cardinals if they went looking.
The Yankees have so many injuries right now to their pitching staff and their position players, but it's their lineup that seems to be floundering the most right now. The club ranks 18th in runs scored to this point with Giancarlo Stanton, Harrison Bader, and Josh Donaldson on the Injured List currently. Aaron Judge is currently dealing with discomfort in his hip, so that's another situation to monitor for them.
Even with injuries to Carlos Rodon, Luis Severino, Frankie Montas, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Lou Trivino, the club ranks 3rd in team ERA on the season. They may be willing to part with some arms to add some firepower to their offense as soon as possible.
While it would hurt to give up Tyler O'Neill and the kind of bat he can bring to the Cardinals' lineup, they have plenty of outfield depth right now, and both Clarke Schmidt and Michael King present some serious upside for St. Louis.
King is 27 years old and currently has a 1.72 ERA in 15.2 innings of work, and is coming off a 2022 season where he had a 2.29 ERA over 51 innings. While you may think "Why would the Yankees give up a great bullpen arm like King?", he's in his first year of arbitration and will have his salary raised every year until he's a free agent in 2026. The Yankees have guys like Loaisiga and Trivino set to come back from the IL soon, names like Ron Marinaccio and Albert Abreu pitching great on pre-arbitration deals, and other names like Clay Holmes, Tommy Kahnle, and Jimmy Cordero in their bullpen.
Schmidt represents a buy-low candidate for the Cardinals. He was once a top prospect for the Yankees, and while he found success out of the bullpen for them last year (3.12 ERA in 57.2 innings), he hasn't panned out as a starter yet. He's started five games for the Yankees so far this year to the tune of a 6.30 ERA in 20 innings of work. Schmidt still has really good stuff, so a change of scenery could do him some good.
This trade turns O'Neill into an elite bullpen piece for the Cardinals and a flyer on a young arm who could help their rotation or worst case, represent another reliable arm in the bullpen. Even if Schmidt is nothing more than a reliever for the Cardinals, adding those two arms to Ryan Helsley, Giovanny Gallegos, Zack Thompson, and Genesis Cabrera would give the Cardinals a top bullpen in baseball.