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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#3 - Dylan Carlson

I still think it's more likely that Dylan Carlson will be traded than one of Brendan Donovan or Nolan Gorman and Steven Matz, but with the trade of Tyler O'Neill and how the Cardinals are talking about Carlson lately, I think it's much less likely they move him now than it seemed at the beginning of the offseason.

The Cardinals starting outfield to begin 2024 will be comprised of Lars Nootbaar, Tommy Edman, and Jordan Walker. Carlson, along with Richie Palacios and Alec Burleson, can factor into the rotation from a reserve role, but the Cardinals have already declared their intention for Carlson to be the fourth outfielder, which is the right decision.

Heading into spring training, the Cardinals are hoping that Masyn Winn runs away with the starting shortstop job, but they are also preparing for a world where they need him to spend more time in Triple-A as well. If that were to happen, Edman would have to slide back in at shortstop, and that would leave a hole in the outfield that Carlson could be the answer for. I'm a huge Victor Scott II guy and hope he's with the big league club soon, but it's very likely he begins the year in Triple-A, barring an incredible spring training.

Outside of Edman, the only other players who can play center field on their roster right now are Nootbaar and Palacios. The Cardinals view Nootbaar as a corner outfielder and I do not think they want to make him cover center field again, and as much as I like Palacios, having them be one injury away from him as their everyday center fielder is a bit too risky for my liking.

Carlson has been disappointing the last few years, but let's not forget that he was third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2021 and played well for significant stretches of 2022. The Cardinals do not need to get rid of him, so unless he's part of a deal to get a significant starting pitcher, I believe they are going to hold onto him for at least the first half of the season.

The top two names on this list I think are the players truly at risk of being dealt between now and spring training.