Cardinals: Ranking the rumored extension candidates for St. Louis

May 7, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (22) is
May 7, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (22) is / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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#1 - Tommy Edman

Tommy Edman has quickly become one of the most valuable players on the Cardinals' roster. The 27-year-old has already won a Gold Glove at second base and should have won it at shortstop in 2022 as well. Edman should provide value for years to come, whether it's at shortstop or as a utility man.

Since St. Louis decided to pass on the shortstop market once again this off-season, they are really puttting their eggs in the Tommy Edman basket for at least 2023 and likely beyond. Masyn Winn is an exciting shorstop prospect, but likely won't be able to handle the positon everyday until 2024 at the earliest. Edman should maintain a hold at shortstop until that day comes, and then can provide elite value in a "Ben Zobrist" type role for the club.

After putting up a .725 OPS in 2022, Edman proved his bat can play everyday for St. Louis. Even if Winn comes up and surplants him at the shortstop position, Edman would provide massive value for the Cardinals sliding back over to second base, or filling it at almost every position on the diamond whenever he is needed.

If Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan continue to blossom alongside Winn, the Cardinals would have strong trade assets to go out and acquire someone at a position of need, or just have a wealth of middle infield depth. Edman could even become a trade chip himself if the Cardinals so choose, especially if he is locked up on a multi-year deal that buys out some of his free-agent years. Even with some regression, Edman would still be a valuable player around baseball and would not be hard to move off of.

I think that is what ultimately makes Edman the number one target for an extension at this moment. He is the safest bet to be a valuable contributor for years to come, has multiple paths toward having an important role with the club, and should be a valuable asset should the Cardinals decide to move off of him. Outside of major regression or injuries, giving Edman an extension has very little risk involved, assuming the deal is team friendly.

Who would you extend out of these four arbitration eligible players? Do you see the Cardinals extending any of them before the regular season? Let me know below!

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