Ranking the St. Louis Cardinals' trade pieces entering Spring Training
The Cardinals have a ton of valuable assets and these ten players standout the most
The St. Louis Cardinals have a plethora of young talent expected to make their Major League roster as well as more knocking on the door of St. Louis. When you look at the offensive side of things, this is a huge advantage for the club and is a big reason why they should have an elite offense in 2023. Pitching-wise, they are thinner but have young arms in the system that will make noise in the next few years.
So let's be clear, this depth is a good thing. It means the Cardinals are operating out of a position of strength. If one guy disappoints, they have two or three others who could succeed in their place. But as many have pointed out, at some point the Cardinals will need to consolidate some of this young talent into elite pitching for the rotation.
It's fair to wonder, which guys would end up being traded if a deal was made? More importantly, how would you rank these trade pieces? If the Cardinals were to make a blockbuster deal for a front-line starter, who would be the potential headliners? Ranking the top trade chips that the Cardinals have is a difficult task. In just a few months, some of these names could easily move up or down the list based on performance or opportunities they receive. But either way, I did my best to rank the top 10 trade assets anyways.
Players that are expected to be core contributors for the Cardinals this year were not considered for this list. While obviously, names like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Jack Flaherty, Tommy Edman, and Willson Contreras would be valuable pieces, it just doesn't make any sense for the club to consider. This list is comprised of young talent that would be appealing to rebuilding teams, but I did make an untouchables list that we should cover.
Untouchables: Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn, Tink Hence, Gordon Graceffo
Most people in baseball view these four as the Cardinals' top four prospects, and I doubt the club moves any of them, barring a potential deal for superstar with club control.
Jordan Walker is for sure untouchable. Whether it is Opening Day or a few months into the season, Walker will be a starting member of the Cardinals' outfield and is seen as a future star in today's game. Masyn Winn will be held onto as well, unless for some reason the club ends up being set on Edman and Nolan Gorman/Brendan Donovan as their starting middle infield of the future, and then maybe they would consider dealing him.
With how thin the Cardinals' pitching is going forward, I do not see a scenario where Tink Hence or Gordon Graceffo are put in trade talks. Hence is a high risk, high reward prospect with the tools to be a legit ace, and Graceffo was a popular name amongst rival teams this off-season for a reason.
Now, let's get into the top 10.