Who's next? Cardinals' likeliest trade candidates for another offseason deal

Now that the Cardinals have traded Tyler O'Neill, who are the most likely players to be dealt next?

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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#4 - Steven Matz

After the Sonny Gray signing, rumors began to peculate that Steven Matz could be traded by the Cardinals this offseason. I see the potential path for the Cardinals moving on from Matz, but I would not say it's likely either.

Even with the injury history Matz has had during his Cardinal tenure, he's still a valuable rotation piece, and there's an arguement that he's the second most talented starting pitcher on their roster. He should slot into their Opening Day rotation right now, but if the Cardinals are able to pull off a trade for another starter, they could explore moving Matz.

Matz is set to make $12.5 million for each of the next two seasons. That's really fair value considering the state of the free agent market, so there's no reason to move Matz unless the Cardinals bring in more pitching to replace him. Matz will have trade value throughout the league with pitching always being in need, so the Cardinals should have no problem finding a suitor if they decide to move him.

One scenario that I think would move Matz up my list is if the Cardinals trade for Glasnow and his $25 million salary. The Cardinals have the salary flexibility to add Glasnow without trading Matz, but I would imagine they'd want to add some bullpen pieces, so moving Matz could help them do so. If the Cardinals trade for Dylan Cease or another cost-controlled pitcher, they still could move Matz, but their low salaries wouldn't make it essential for the Cardinals to do so.

Matz should be viewed as a rotation arm for the Cardinals, but the fact that he can also slide into the bullpen and provide value there makes him an interesting arm to hold onto for 2024. But with the need to raise the ceiling of this rotation, if the opportunity to add a better starter is there, they should be open to moving Matz if that is a necessary repercussion.