5 trades the Cardinals likely wish they could do over

Cardinals fans often lament trades made by John Mozeliak and the front office. Here are five the Cardinals wish they could undo.
Detroit Tigers v St Louis Cardinals
Detroit Tigers v St Louis Cardinals / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Trade 4: Washington Nationals receive Lane Thomas. St. Louis Cardinals receive Jon Lester

Lane Thomas, the third of four outfielders traded by the Cardinals on this list, showed immediate promise when he was called up to the Major Leagues in 2019. It looked like Thomas would become a key component of the Cardinals' outfield for years to come. But, the mix of injuries and severe regression in 2020 and 2021 left him without a starting job in the ever-changing outfield mix.

With a need for pitching at the deadline, patching the rotation with Jon Lester and J.A. Happ may not have been the most popular move, but it certainly worked to propel the Cardinals on a magical run to the Postseason. While those hopes were dashed quickly by the Dodgers in the Wildcard game, Lester was a key contributor in getting St. Louis to the playoff in the first place. However, giving up a future cornerstone outfielder to Washington for a rental veteran was far too costly.

Given everyday playing time in a much less intense environment, Lane Thomas was allowed to play through his struggles and has churned out a solid 111 OPS+ from 2021 to today in a Nationals uniform. Lane Thomas is again a case of the Cardinals failing to identify worthy outfield talent and providing an environment where players can thrive in the Majors. Due to his monster slump, Thomas would never pan out in St. Louis as they tried to contend for a playoff spot. Still, one has to question why outfielders consistently perform better elsewhere after leaving the Cardinals. Could the same happen with Dylan Carlson in the future?

In order to figure out how to sustain a consistent outfield core for future seasons, the Cardinals must look back upon its failure to develop its wealth of talent. With its current talent pool consisting of Jordan Walker, Lars Nootbaar, Alec Burleson, Dylan Carlson, and many more, they need to learn that lesson now to avoid more stories like this. Now, let's move on to the final failed Cardinals outfielder, though this time a failure for a different reason.