All offseason, you're going to see a variety of trade proposals mocked up that include one of the Cardinals' young bats for starting pitching. It makes sense. St. Louis needs pitching help badly and has a lot of desirable bats on their roster.
I believe the Cardinals will likely hold onto the likes of Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, and Lars Nootbaar, choosing instead to spend money in free agency for most of their upgrades, and perhaps trading some of their less valuable position players for a rental arm or back-end starter with control.
Is there a world where the Cardinals trade one of those aforementioned bats to get a pitcher they desire? Yes. Depending on how the free agent and trade markets play themselves out, the Cardinals may have to seriously consider trading one of their best young bats to upgrade their rotation.
Still, they aren't going to do so without getting a top arm in return, and I'm not sure if Bleacher Report got the memo or not.
In a recent article with "wild trade ideas" that he'd like to see come true this offseason, Joel Reuter proposed that the Cardinals swap Gorman for Mariners' RHP Bryce Miller, leaning on the argument that the Cardinals have other young bats they can rely on and Miller's club control would be appealing to St. Louis.
I get what Reuter is trying to do here, but it just does not make sense for what the Cardinals are trying to do this offseason. Miller is a valuable arm, but in no way is he worth giving up Nolan Gorman for, especially with a large chunk of his value coming from his team control. Yes, every team wants more control with their players when possible, but the Cardinals have to prioritize talent over control this offseason, and if they are giving up a guy like Gorman, it has to be for a proven, top-of-the-rotation starter instead.
Gorman is coming off a 2.5 fWAR season and 118 wRC+ in his first full big-league season, and if it were not for a few stints on the IL, he would have easily surpassed 30 home runs on the season. Even with a horrible month of June, still managed to mash for the Cardinals and prove why he's one of the more exciting young bats in today's game. Gorman is a streaky hitter for sure, but check out how he mashed each month of the season.
.267/.356/.522 (.878 OPS) 135 wRC+
.277/.365/.590 (.955 OPS) 155 wRC+
.143/.211/.229 (.439 OPS) 22 wRC+
.263/.344/.600 (.944 OPS) 152 wRC+
.191/.309/.319 (.628 OPS) 80 wRC+
.250/.372/.528 (.900 OPS) 145 wRC+
Four out of the six months of the season, Gorman was one of the best hitters in baseball. June was about as bad of a month of baseball as you can possibly have at the plate, and August was below league average. The Cardinals will likely have to live with the downs if they want to experience the ups that Gorman has, but I think it's safe to assume that Gorman won't look like the worst hitter in baseball for an entire month again.
He was 18% above league average at the plate in 2023, and if his back can be healthier in 2024, I would expect him to be closer to 30% above league average. Gorman should be fighting for his first All-Star appearance in 2024 and could even push for the home run crown. He's a cornerstone piece for this organization, not a trade chip for a guy who just posted a 4.32 ERA and likely doesn't have the upside of a number-one starter during his career.
I like the idea of the Cardinals trying to acquire someone like Bryce Miller, but not for that kind of price point. If the Cardinals can work a deal including different names like Tommy Edman, Alec Burleson, Dylan Carlson, Tyler O'Neill, or even a high-level prospect, I'm interested. Nolan Gorman is not going to be let go of for a guy like Miller, though.