Cincinnati Reds: Jake Fraley, OF
The Cardinals don't have many holes on the position player side, but Jake Fraley could fill a strong-side reserve platoon outfielder role. Fraley, a left-handed hitter, had an .815 OPS against right-handed pitchers in 2023. A stress fracture may have hindered Fraley later in the season, and when he returned on Sept. 1, he hit only .213 for the rest of the year.
If the Cardinals decide to trade Tyler O'Neill, move Tommy Edman from center field back to shortstop and give Masyn Winn more time in Triple-A, they could be looking for some outfield reinforcements, especially if they decide to give Jordan Walker some time at designated hitter. Fraley could rotate spots with Dylan Carlson in the platoon spot and could possibly push Carlson out of the picture altogether if the Cardinals' outfield is deemed too crowded. While Carlson still has youth on his side, he hasn't shown much beyond his rookie year that shows he's deserving of more of a role.
The Cincinnati Reds could be looking to move the arbitration-eligible Fraley for pitching help, and while the Cardinals won't trade anyone they have in their rotation, they could theoretically deal a young low-level prospect or a piece from the bullpen.
Cleveland Guardians: Shane Bieber, RHP
The Cleveland Guardians are in need of some thump in their lineup after finishing last in the major leagues in home runs, and they are likely to dangle Shane Bieber in trade talks this offseason. A Cy Young Award winner in the abridged 2020 season, Bieber would be a lucrative acquisition for the Cardinals.
Bieber will be in his final year of team control in 2024 before entering arbitration and is coming off of an elbow injury and his highest ERA since his rookie season, at 3.80. Along with the rise in his ERA, Bieber's strikeout rate dipped and his hits allowed spiked. Bieber's down season could work in the Cardinals' favor, as they might not have to give up as much value as they would have in previous years. At just 28 years old, Bieber should still be in the prime of his career, and the Cardinals might want to see if they can find his form from previous years.
With the Guardians searching for power, Nolan Gorman would be a strong option for them to consider in a trade for Bieber. They may also have their eyes on Masyn Winn to fill their shortstop hole, which is currently projected to feature the light-hitting Gabriel Arias as the starter.