Cardinals Rumors: Insider lists former top prospect as trade candidate

Katie Woo of the Athletic lists a former top prospect as a player the Cardinals will listen to offers on.
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

With the St. Louis Cardinals firmly entrenched as buyers at the upcoming MLB trade deadline, speculation has begun running rampant. The team likely needs a mid-rotation starter, at least 1 reliable bullpen arm, and possibly even a right-handed bat off the bench who can hit for greater than .200.

In addition to the trade deadline, key players like Tommy Edman and Lars Nootbaar will be returning from the Injured List. Between player acquisitions via trades and a return to health, a roster crunch will occur. The Cardinals would like to keep Michael Siani playing regularly in the outfield thanks to his stellar defense, Nootbaar will play in the corner outfield often, and Brendan Donovan and Alec Burleson have earned a starting spot somewhere on the diamond.

This leaves one man out of the regular rotation: Dylan Carlson.

Carlson is a former top prospect in the Cardinals organization who was once a Rookie of the Year candidate with five-tool potential. Since 2021, however, the switch-hitting outfielder hasn't been able to put together a productive season. Injuries, mishandling of player personnel, and underperformance have been the story of Carlson's career up to this point.

Even without Nootbaar and Edman on the active roster, Carlson has been relegated to the 4th outfielder spot behind Michael Siani, Brendan Donovan, and Alec Burleson. He is slashing .192/.275/.240 on the year, and his 54 wRC+ makes him 46% worse than the average hitter. While he was never known for much power, his .042 ISO is the 5th-worst among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.

Katie Woo of The Athletic (subscription required) listed Carlson as a player who could be traded if other teams inquire about him. The former top prospect has a pedigree and 1 strong season under his belt in the majors, and he will enter arbitration for the first time next year, making him a free agent after the 2027 season. Production aside, he still holds at least some value due to his team control, five-tool potential, and defensive viability.

There will be a team out there who is willing to buy low on Carlson, and a change of scenery could do him well. His defense is still above average across the outfield, and he has been a good hitter historically when batting right-handed. The Cardinals could swap for another struggling position player or pitcher from another team, or they could cash in on Carlson's remaining value to snag a prospect from the back half of an organization's prospect group.

His age and pedigree make losing him a bit worrisome, but there isn't much room left on the team's roster if Carlson continues to play this poorly. It will be disappointing to see someone of his talent leave the organization, though.