6 trade targets for the Cardinals after the recent free-agent frenzy

The Cardinals are now in a position to add another starting pitcher via trade, and these six targets stand out as realistic fits.

Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Framber Valdez

Over the last few months, we have discussed a variety of names that the Cardinals could target via trade or free agency, but one new name who's "entered the chat" is Astros' lefty Framber Valdez, at least according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal (subscription required).

In Rosenthal's piece, he talked about how the Astros' owner Jim Crane does not want to pay luxury tax penalties, and the Astros are currently set to be slightly above that threshold, even without making any upgrades they'd like to do this offseason. Two executives from rival teams told Rosenthal that they are monitoring the Valdez situation, as the Astros could kill two birds with one stone by moving his projected $12.1 million salary and adding really good talent in return as well.

If you're not familiar with Valdez, he's been one of the best starters in baseball over the last three years and has proven to be productive on the biggest stages. Since 2021, Valdez is 40-23 with a 3.13 ERA over 534 innings of work. He's been an All-Star and finished top-10 in Cy Young voting the last two seasons, and still has two years of control as well.

If the Astros were to move Valdez, I have a hard time believing they do so without getting Gorman or Donovan in return to help their team immediately. They do have one of the worst-ranked farm systems in baseball now, so if they were to shop Valdez, adding talent for both now and the future would be a priority for them to sustain success.

Outside of Gorman and Donovan, other pieces on the Cardinals roster that the Astros could be interested in may include Alec Burleson, Tommy Edman, Zack Thompson, Dylan Carlson, or Mathew Liberatore, but I wouldn't see any of those guys cutting it as the centerpiece of a potential deal here.

Adding Valdez to the top of the Cardinals rotation with give them an experienced 1-2 punch for October that can help them go toe to toe with other top rotations. Keep an eye on the Astros' situation, as if they decide to shop Valdez, the Cardinals would be an excellent trade partner for Houston.