6 realistic trade chips the Cardinals may dangle at the trade deadline

The Cardinals are buying at this year's trade deadline and these six trade chips make the most sense to move.
Baltimore Orioles v St. Louis Cardinals
Baltimore Orioles v St. Louis Cardinals / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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Jimmy Crooks III or Leonardo Bernal

Woohoo! The organizational catching depth is very real right now. Behind Willson Contreras, Ivan Herrera, and Pedro Pages, you'll see two names that continue to catch eyes at Double-A and High-A in Jimmy Crooks III and Leonardo Bernal.

Bernal is the higher-rated prospect in the system, as at just 20 years old he is flashing the ability to be an above-average hitter at the plate while playing really good defense behind the plate - a true all-around catcher. Bernal is also a switch hitter, which you know, is really fun to have around. Bernal is a ways away from making an impact at the big league level, and with the amount of catching depth St. Louis has, maybe they would be willing to put him in a trade package.

Crooks came into the season viewed less highly than Bernal, but he has done nothing but mash since his first season in 2022 and has really broken out at the plate for Springfield this year. Crooks has posted a .311/.419/.450 slash line with 3 HR and 29 RBI from the right side, good for a 148 wRC+ while walking at a 13% clip and striking out 20.9% of the time. Crooks has recorded 12 doubles and 3 triples in his 180 at-bats this year as well, so he knows how to make an impact at the plate.

All prospects are hard to gauge, but that is especially the case with catchers. They seem to be the most volatile position of all, so I'm not sure how highly either would be viewed in a trade since neither is considered a top prospect in baseball.

Still, if the Cardinals want to hold onto Contreras, Herrera, and Pages, you would think one of Crooks or Bernal would be expendable, especially with the rise of Sammy Hernandez. Hernandez was acquired by the Cardinals for Genesis Cabrera last summer and has been really good for Palm Beach this year. At just 20 years old, he may have the highest ceiling defensively in the system, and his .746 OPS this year shows he is comfortable with the bat at this stage in his development.

If the Cardinals aim low for a starter or need additional pieces in a package, these names make a lot of sense. But in all honesty, I think the depth in the system and emergence of Pedro Pages has made one catcher in particular a very interesting trade candidate this deadline.