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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Young pitching from the Giants

One team that I have not often seen connected to the Cardinals when it comes to the trade front but could make for interesting partners is the San Francisco Giants. While I'm not sure I see a move happening in the near future, I really do think they'd be a team to keep an eye on closer to Spring Training or at the trade deadline based on some tidbits from Ken Rosenthal.

In a recent piece over at The Athletic (subscription required), Rosenthal mentioned the Giants as a team that could be looking to move starting pitching for position players, and the type of player they are looking for could match up well with St. Louis.

"The addition of a veteran starter, either through free agency or trade, would perhaps make it more likely that the Giants would deal from their young pitching group, an idea they already are entertaining...The team, however, needs to add young, athletic-position players who can defend. Dangling young arms might be the best way to get it done."

Young, athletic-position players...my mind immediately runs to the likes of Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan here, or even Dylan Carlson depending on how things shake out. While the Cardinals could use some upside in their pitching staff, I'm not sure a move with the Giants makes sense at this very moment, but they may make a lot more sense as trade partners closer to the trade deadline.

In the case of Donovan, I don't see the Cardinals wanting to move him for pitching unless it was a bit more of a proven front-end starter, and the kinds of pitchers the Giants may be offering here have upside but do not have much if any, big league experience. I do think St. Louis would be more interested in moving Edman or Carlson for that kind of pitching, but as things stand, both play critical roles on this roster as the Cardinals look to see what their young guys can provide.

Edman is the starting center fielder as things currently stand, and even if Victor Scott II is able to claim that job in the near future, he's also their only real insurance at shortstop right now if Masyn Winn struggles. But if the season progresses and the Cardinals feel confident in Winn at shortstop and the combination of Scott, Carlson, Nootbaar, and Palacios for center field, then I do think Edman could become available for a deal with the Giants. I talked about the idea of Edman becoming available midseason with Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat on our charity stream for the Noot News Podcast this week. (2:55:30 mark)

The same idea can be said about Carlson, but probably to a lesser extent. If the Cardinals really liked some of those Giants arms and San Francisco wanted Carlson, I don't think they'd shy away from a deal. But right now, the Cardinals view Carlson as that fourth outfielder who can play all three spots but specifically provides them with insurance if Edman gets hurt or has to fill in at shortstop.

Four arms to keep an eye on from the Giants for me are Keaton Winn, Carson Whisenhunt, Mason Black, and Hayden Birdsong. Winn made his MLB debut and has both a plus fastball that sits between 94-96 mph with the ability to hit 100 mph, and a nasty splitter that he uses to get both swings and misses as well as induce ground balls.

Whisenhunt is a top-100 prospect in baseball and likely wouldn't be moved unless it was in a trade for Donovan or perhaps Edman, and he features a plus-plus change-up with an above-average fastball and curveball combo, He's a few years away from the Majors, as is Hayden Birdsong. Mason Black could make his MLB debut in 2024 and is in the growing mold of having a plus fastball and plus slider combo.