7 trade partners that make way too much sense for the Cardinals at the trade deadline

Luckily for the Cardinals, there are plenty of suitors that would make a ton of sense for them to make a trade with.
May 4, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  Chicago White Sox right fielder Tommy Pham (28) celebrates with shortstop Paul DeJong (29) after the White Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in ten innings at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Tommy Pham (28) celebrates with shortstop Paul DeJong (29) after the White Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in ten innings at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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Tampa Bay Rays

If the Tampa Bay Rays were in the National League, they'd be right in the thick of things in the Wild Card and I don't think we would be talking about them as a seller. But the American League has been so tough this year, and as of writing this, the Rays' .500 record has them 11 games back of first place in the American League East and four games out of the Wild Card. They can certainly get back into the race down the stretch, but they'll have to fight off the likes of the Royals, Red Sox, and Astros to do so.

We all know how the Rays operate. They are constantly looking to capitalize on value so they can continue to build a winning team year in and year out. With Tampa Bay clearly not one of the best teams in the American League this year and dealing with their own variety of injuries, they could look to explore selling some pieces that hold value so that when they get healthy for 2025, they have even more ammo to endure what the season throws their way.

As far as rotation arms go, Zach Eflin is set to see his contract rise to $18 million in 2025, and they could look to part with him for some pieces at the deadline. Eflin has posted a 3.92 ERA in 87.1 innings this year and would fit the bill as that number three starter type for St. Louis.

The Rays' bullpen arms are where I really think a match could come together though, as both Pete Fairbanks and Shawn Armstrong could be helpful upgrades for the back end of the Cardinals' bullpen.

Fairbanks played for the University of Missouri in college and would be a fun match for St. Louis. He's been great so far in 2024, posting a 3.14 ERA in 28.2 innings of work while striking out over a batter per inning. He also has a lot of experience closing games, so he could shut down the 9th when Helsley is not available or slot into other high-leverage spots. Fairbanks does have a super affordable contract the next two years though, so he won't come cheap.

Armstrong has been pretty good in 2024 for the Rays, but his lack of control and high-end production would cause his price to be significantly lower than Fairbanks. Armstrong has solid swing-and-miss in his game like Fairbanks but has done so to the tune of a 3.96 ERA this season.

There's also an interesting target in Phil Maton, someone whom the Cardinals had an interest in during free agency this past season but has really struggled this year. The Cardinals already made a deal with Tampa Bay this past offseason for reliever Andrew Kittredge, so maybe a sequel to that deal is in the cards.