Tier ranking the St. Louis Cardinals' players and prospects for the trade deadline

Here is how the Cardinals' players and prospects should be grouped together when it comes to value
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals / Greg Fiume/GettyImages
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Jordan Walker, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Lars Nootbaar, Tink Hence, Masyn Winn, Nolan Gorman, Cooper Hjerpe

Untouchables are players and prospects that I see no scenario where the Cardinals would trade them away. Of course, no one is truly untouchable, but it would take an insane opportunity to even consider it (Ex. getting a Shohei Ohtani, Corbin Carroll, Jackson Holliday, etc.)

Coming into the season, I thought it was universally understood that Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado were untouchable. Apparently, there's a growing group of fans and media who do not agree with me.

Still, I believe this is a loud minority, as I think most people would agree that you do not trade two top-3 MVP candidates when you're this close to contention. Yes, I know, they have been terrible this season. But every day I see more and more stats and reasons to believe that this team is better than their record has shown, and I truly believe they are a legit contender this time next year. But you need Goldschmidt and Arenado for that to be true.

One of the major reasons I see them being a legitimate threat in the National League next year is how good Jordan Walker is becoming. I was all aboard the "Jordan Walker is a future superstar" hype train coming into the season, but you still need to actually see it in action before you truly run with expectations. Walker has been one of the best hitters in baseball since he was called back up, and I can't imagine how good he'll be during year two of his development.

Lars Nootbaar has had a very similar impact on the Cardinals. They need his mix of on-base skills, power, clutch hitting, and stabilizing defense every day. When Nolan Gorman is on, he propels this Cardinals' offense to new heights and has shown the ability to come up clutch in the biggest moments.

When it comes to Masyn Winn, Tink Hence, and Cooper Hjerpe, I just don't see how the Cardinals can justify dealing any of them. Winn is a dynamic player at the plate, in the field, and on the basepaths, and should be the Cardinals' starting shortstop for a very long time. Hence and Hjerpe represent the Cardinals' best opportunities at developing impact arms, and with how bad they've been at that in recent years, there's no way they let arms with that potential go again.