The Cardinals are perhaps the most intriguing seller of this trade deadline. The preseason favorite for the NL Central expected to build upon a 93-win campaign in 2022, the team has failed to live up to expectations with a brutal 46-60 record that leaves them in last place in the division and ahead of only the Rockies and Nationals in the NL. With the club’s eyes turned toward the future, speculation has run rampant regarding many of the club’s interesting pieces, both those who are set to hit free agency after the season and those who are under team control longer-term.
Despite their status as the league’s premiere seller, the Cardinals have largely been quiet to this point with the trade deadline just over 48 hours away. While reports earlier in the week hinted at the possibility of a blockbuster involving third baseman Nolan Arenado, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak firmly shut those rumors down yesterday. While Arenado may not be on the move, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently discussed a bevy of other rumors regarding the club’s options ahead of the trade deadline.
Most clearly positioned to move over the next two days are the club’s duo of mid-rotation rental starters: left-hander Jordan Montgomery and right-hander Jack Flaherty. Goold notes that both players, along with closer Jordan Hicks, are generating interest throughout the league, though the returns on each of those players, if traded by themselves, would reportedly not fit the mold of the Cardinals’ preferred return: controllable, major-league ready starting pitching.
That’s hardly a surprise, given controllable starters are typically regarded as some of the most valuable commodities in the sport. Given this, Goold indicates that the club could get creative and pair rental players with younger, controllable pieces would yield their desired return. In particular, Goold name-checks outfielders Alec Burleson and Dylan Carlson alongside relievers Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley as longer-term pieces who could be moved. In terms of potential Cardinals targets, Goold references both Yankees prospect Clayton Beeter and Mariners right-hander Logan Gilbert, though Goold cautions that Gilbert would require a “high-ceiling return.”
Recent reporting had previously indicated trade interest in Burleson from multiple clubs, and Goold reaffirms the Yankees’ previously reported interest in Carlson. Goold adds that, in addition to Carlson, the Yankees have interest in Hicks, who has also drawn interest from the Rangers. Additionally, Goold notes that the market for Flaherty and Montgomery includes the Marlins, who have scouted Flaherty in person this trade season, while the Rays are noted to have interest in St. Louis’s available pitchers more generally.
While Miami is seemingly focused on Flaherty among the club’s duo of rental starters, Jon Morosi of MLBNetwork reported last night that talks surrounding Montgomery were “gaining momentum” and that a deal was becoming increasingly likely. While Morosi didn’t specify which team the Cardinals were discussing Montgomery with, he noted that both the Diamondbacks and Orioles have engaged in discussions with St. Louis in recent days.