Cardinals acquire Shane McClanahan, Rays receive Tink Hence, Thomas Saggese, Alec Burleson, and Zack Thompson
Here's a completely bold trade idea that might not even be possible. However, Shane McClanahan might be the perfect buy-low candidate for the Cardinals this offseason. After undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of August 2023, McClanahan won't pitch much if at all in the 2024 regular season, so this move will be purely for the Cardinals' benefit in the Postseason.
The Rays have shown little if any interest in trading Shane McClanahan so far, but given the cost-efficient way they operate, committing around 4 million in arbitration payroll to McClanahan next season only for him to miss most of the season might not be beneficial to them. Parting with their ace when he has four more years of control in exchange for top-end Cardinals prospects could help propel them back into contention in a highly competitive AL East after a reset year in 2024.
The above package proposed includes two pitchers with plus-stuff in Tink Hence and Zack Thompson that the Rays would probably highly covet. Their pitching lab would bring out the best in Hence and Thompson, utilizing them to their maximum strength. Burleson is also a great Major League-ready bat with tools to contribute to the Rays' lineup, and Thomas Saggese could fill a hole at shortstop left by Wander Franco.
Ultimately, this trade would be a long shot, as the Rays could wait to move McClanahan and ask for better packages from other teams such as the Dodgers, but if the Cardinals can strike first as they did with Goldschmidt and Arenado, they could land McClanahan early for a Postseason run in 2024 and beyond.