Cardinals: Trade negotiations reveal who the Cardinals value the most

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages
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The Cardinals offered the Blue Jays Ryan Helsley over Lars Nootbaar

Perhaps the biggest shocker of recent trade negotiations was the Cardinals preference to trade All-Star closer Ryan Helsley rather than part with Nootbaar in a Danny Jansen trade, per Derrick Goold.

Why exactly would the club have any interest in moving their elite closer for someone like Jansen? Well outside of his elite 2022 season, Helsley best season was arguably in 2019 when he had a 2.95 ERA in 36.2 innings of work. It's clear Helsley has taken multiple steps forward since then, but without the track record of other elite closers, his value is just not as high as his production was last season. If Helsley puts together another elite season in 2023, then that changes.

It once again stresses how much this club believes in Nootbaar. Helsley is coming off of a dominate season, while Nootbaar more so had a dominate few month stretch. But despite the small sample size of tanigble production, Nootbaar's underlying metrics indicate that he can be a very, very producitve player in this league.

I am sure more reports will come out over the coming weeks and months about the Cardinals trade preferences, especially as they explore potential deals for starting pitching. It's becoming clear now who the Cardinals value the most within their organization, but also means that St. Louis is once again at a crossroads when deciding which young talent to keep around. Let's take a look at just how big of a moment this is for the club.