Arizona Diamondbacks: Joe Mantiply, LHP
The 32-year-old Joe Mantiply was somewhat of a late bloomer, not receiving anything more than a cup of coffee in the major leagues until 2021. But Mantiply evolved quickly, earning an All-Star nod in 2022. However, in 2023, he took a step back, with a 4.62 ERA and a trip to the minor leagues. Back with the big club, he finished the season strong, with a 1.38 ERA in September and a .208 opposing batting average.
Although not blessed with overpowering velocity, Mantiply displayed excellent chase rates and ground ball rates in 2023, and his FIP of 3.85 was almost a full run better than his ERA. 2024 will be Mantiply's first year of arbitration, and he will likely be due a decent raise. If the small-market Arizona Diamondbacks aren't interested in paying that salary, they could look to deal him.
The Cardinals could be interested in getting their mitts on Mantiply; despite his age, he only has 146.2 career innings under his belt and has strong ground ball numbers. The Diamondbacks are unsettled in the outfield, as Tommy Pham is set to be a free agent, and the Cardinals could deal from their deep crop of outfielders to make a trade work.
Atlanta Braves: Michael Soroka, RHP
The Atlanta Braves had high hopes for Michael Soroka after his standout rookie season in 2019, where he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, but he has since been afflicted with numerous injuries over his career. He missed two full seasons in 2021 and 2022, and when he returned in 2023, he wasn't the same pitcher, amassing a 6.40 ERA and surrendering nine home runs in only 34.1 innings before going on the shelf yet again.
Soroka might not crack the Braves rotation next season, but he could work as a reclamation project for the Cardinals. If his flyball tendencies from last season return, they could be mitigated in the homer-suppressing Busch Stadium. Injuries will always be a concern for Soroka, but if the Cardinals think he can return even partially to his 2019 form, they could take a flier on him before he hits free agency in 2025.
The Braves' sole position in question is left field, where Eddie Rosario has a club option for 2024. If the Braves decline it, a swap of Soroka for another often-injured player who flashed MVP potential, Tyler O'Neill, might make sense.