Anyone can go on Baseball Trade Values and cook up a potential trade for any player. Just throw all the "fringe assets" or players you are frustrated with into the deal, and eventually, it'll add up to the value of another player.
Except, that is not at all how MLB trades work. And the St. Louis Cardinals are going to have to be willing to pony up in a trade for controllable starting pitching.
Recently, I placed many of the Cardinals' Major League talent and prospects into different "tiers" based on how I would value them long-term for the club. It's tempting to take a bunch of names that you and I do not think hold value to the Cardinals right now and think that they can add up to something of value somewhere else. Unfortunately, I don't see that working out for the Cardinals.
If the Cardinals are going to get the young arms they desperately need, it's going to hurt. It's going to make fans uncomfortable. It's going to make the front office uncomfortable. It's going to be a risk.
And that is okay. You don't become a championship contender without taking some risks.
In all reality, the Cardinals are actually in a position where they can afford to take risks due to their deep pool of position players. Even if they give up a few young bats, they'll still have many more to field a lineup on top of Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Willson Contreras.
The Cardinals have to get this next deal right. They need to find the right starting pitcher for them. But they also need to be okay with the risk associated with such a deal.
I am going to rank the young position players that I think the Cardinals need to put on the negotiating table to get a deal done. I'm not going to rank them based on "who I would feel most comfortable with them giving up", I'm going to rank them based on a combination of who will bring back the most value and who the Cardinals should prioritize keeping.
Sure, there will be a few obvious (or maybe not so obvious) untouchables I identify, but overall, this list is meant to make you uncomfortable. If it didn't make you uncomfortable, then this list is not a realistic way to get an impact arm.