As I mentioned earlier, this list will be comprised of some valuable names who may find themselves in trade packages, as well as players whose performance just does not justify a roster spot any longer. Paul DeJong could end up being the latter.
There has been so much chatter this off-season about the changes that DeJong has made to his swing to bounce back from a rough two years. What I have found most shocking during these discussions is how open the Cardinals have been about DeJong's reluctance to change prior to this off-season. That may indicate that these changes he is making are not just minor adjustments but a legitimate overhaul of what he does.
Regardless, DeJong has lost a ton of trust within the Cardinals' organization, and if he does not perform to begin 2023, I don't see how they'll allow him to remain on the roster very long.
The 2022 season was downright awful for the Cardinals' shortstop, slashing .157/.245/.286 with 6 HR and 25 RBI in 77 games for the club. After a long demotion to Triple-A Memphis, DeJong came back with a hot back for a few weeks but then fell right back into being unplayable for St. Louis. Even if he can just bounce back a bit, he'll likely be able to manage a backup role on the club. But if it's more of the same from DeJong in 2023, he'll be off the roster rather quickly.
Who could fill his spot internally should he be let go? Masyn Winn is a season away from being Major League ready, so barring a massive step forward from him, names like Jose Fermin, Kramer Robertson, or Taylor Motter could factor in, or someone from outside the organization.