(5) - Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman, Nolan Arenado, Masyn Winn, Brendan Donovan
The rest of this list is where things get very difficult to predict, but at the end of the day, I had to land on something.
You'll probably notice Tommy Edman is not on this list. I know how valuable he is to the Cardinals. Edman is a terrific player and has elevated his game at the plate this year. But in this scenario, I landed on the Cardinals trading for a starting pitching to fill their ace void, and you have to give up value to get value. Should the Cardinals trade for a high-level starter, I would be very surprised if they pull it off without including one of Edman, Masyn Winn, or Brendan Donovan.
The Cardinals seem to be extremely high on Masyn Winn, and for good reason. He looks to be the club's starting shortstop in 2024, and could be up with the club at some point this season depending on trades and injuries. Winn would be an exciting addition to this team, both at the plate and in the field.
Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan will both likely see a lot of time at second base and other positions like they have this season. Gorman could feature at DH pretty often and third base when Nolan Arenado needs a day off, and Donovan will likely play all over the field.
There are three reasons I landed on the Cardinals keeping Gorman, Donovan, and Winn while trading Edman - upside, trade value, and cost control. Nolan Gorman and Masyn Winn have the two highest ceilings in my opinion, and I just don't see St. Louis dealing them. Edman I think carries a lot more value than Donovan in a trade, and Donovan is also a lot further away from free agency. Just feels like a Cardinals' way of thinking to me.
It is very possible though that the Cardinals keep all four and hope to upgrade their rotation through free agency, and I certainly wouldn't be opposed to that.
It goes without saying, but Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado will be the superstars at the corners for the Cardinals once again. I do think it is likely we see a Goldschmidt extension this offseason.
You may be wondering where Paul DeJong is. At this rate, if he continues to as good as he has been this year, I see the Cardinals picking up his option and then using him in a trade this offseason.