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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Ivan Herrera

Don't misquote me on this - I'm not down on Ivan Herrera at all. Some people seem to think he has to be dealt, but I am not one of those. Even with his struggles with throwing out runners this year, I believe his defense is overall underrated and his bat is far superior compared to Pedro Pages.

And yet, the Cardinals seem to be telling us that they much prefer Pages behind the plate for them, and when Herrera returns from the injured list, his role may be more as a right-handed bat off of the bench than the true back up to Contreras. Herrera is the superior player in my eyes, but I do think it's worth exploring his trade value if he can be the piece that gets them an impact starter.

In general, you want to try and trade from a surpluss rather than a position of weakness when looking to upgrade. Willson Contreras has flipped the script of his defensive woes and looks like a guy who can handle catching duties at a high level for multiple more years. Pages seems to be the kind of catcher who the Cardinals would prefer as their back up - highly skilled defensively and a timely hitter when needed. Pages is multiple steps down from Herrera at the plate, but for what they need from a back up, Pages fits like a glove.

If the Cardinals envision Herrera playing a lot for them over the coming years and they believe his arm will get better, then it would be really difficult to move on from him. His bat has the potential to be one of the best in baseball behind the plate, and as I said earlier, it's really just his arm holding him back defensively. But if a team is willing to move a top arm with Herrera as the center piece, that may be something the Cardinals cannot ignore.

Part of the reason I think Herrera could make sense to move is the other young position players St. Louis has. In 2025 and beyond, you can expect to see Lars Nootbaar and Jordan Walker in the corner outfield spots for St. Louis with Alec Burleson sliding to first base. Brendan Donovan will slot in as a place holder DH but will play every day all over the field. I don't think Herrera's bat would get into the lineup much unless Contreras is off or DHing, so that signficantly limits his playing time. In theory, it's probably more valuable for St. Louis to have Pages take that playing time and turn Herrera into a different piece.

I'm not the only one seeing this as a possible outcome. Other writers seem to believe Herrera may become available as well based on the Cardinals' optimism around Pages. We'll wait and see, but as of right now, Herrera feels to me like the best chip they are willing to dangle at this deadline.