Brendan Donovan has been a very strong player for the St. Louis Cardinals since his callup in 2022. He has already accumulated 6.1 bWAR in just over 1,000 at-bats, and he has a career OPS+ of 120. Donovan has also been a solid defender at multiple positions in both the outfield and infield. He has primarily played second base, but Donovan has also found time at shortstop, first base, third base, and both corner outfield spots.
St. Louis would be wise to keep a defensively versatile player with an above-average bat from the left side. Nolan Gorman, Lars Nootbaar, and Brendan Donovan could provide three different profiles from the left side for many years to come in St. Louis; however, if St. Louis's desire for a top-end pitcher this offseason is true, they will have to give up talent to get it in return.
There are plenty of free-agent pitchers who could lead a staff, but there are just as many talented trade options. Shane Bieber, Tyler Glasnow, Logan Gilbert, and Dylan Cease have all been reported as potential trade candidates, and they are all more than capable starting pitchers who would be immediate upgrades in any rotation, especially for the Cardinals. The issue with some of those pitchers, particular Gilbert and Cease, is that their current teams will be asking for quite a bit in return.
I recently ranked Donovan as the second-most valuable piece the team has behind only Nolan Gorman this offseason. Teams across the league seem to agree, as the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays have all been reported to have interest in the utility man. Derrick Goold recently discussed four trade partners in one of his pieces (subscription required).
Let's take a look at those four teams and try to put together some returns for Brendan Donovan.