The Cardinals have been among the most disappointing teams in the league this season. Despite coming into the season as the shoo-in favorite for the NL Central crown, St. Louis sports just a 34-48 record and is in fifth place in the NL Central, 9.5 games out of a playoff spot. That rough first half to the 2023 campaign led president of baseball operations John Mozeliak to admit that “some changes” were on the horizon for the Cardinals late last month, even as he pushed back against the idea of the club entering a full rebuild.
The Athletic’s Katie Woo expanded upon those comments today, suggesting that the Cardinals are likely to make most of their position player group available in trade talks as they look to retool the team, though she highlights Nolan Arenado, Willson Contreras, Lars Nootbaar, and Jordan Walker as players who aren’t expected to be moved. Woo places the most emphasis on first baseman Paul Goldschmidt as a player who’s off-limits in trade as the deadline approaches.
The 35-year-old first baseman has posted another solid season for the Cardinals on the heels of his 2022 MVP campaign, slashing .289/.379/.498 in 359 plate appearances this season. A free agent after the 2024 campaign, speculation has swirled that the club might consider offers on Goldschmidt ahead of the trade deadline this year. Woo pushes back strongly against those rumors, arguing that a two-year extension this offseason is the “most likely scenario” regarding Goldschmidt. Such a deal would figure to take the veteran slugger through the end of his age-38 season in a Cardinals uniform.
More from around the National League…
- The Pirates welcomed outfielder Bryan Reynolds back from the injured list today, per a club announcement. Pittsburgh’s star was on the shelf with a low back strain for just slightly over the minimum 10 days required, but the club struggled while Reynolds was away. Since Reynolds last appeared in a game on June 19, the club has gone 5-6 including key losses to division rivals in Chicago and Milwaukee. Reynolds, who’s slashing .279/.350/.473 in 294 plate appearances this season, will look to spark his club as they head into the All Star break with tough matchups against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. In recent days, outfielder Josh Palacios has filled in for Reynolds in the outfield alongside Henry Davis and Jack Suwinski.
- Phillies managed Rob Thomson tells reporters, including Destiny Lugardo of Phillies Nation, that top prospect Andrew Painter is set to face live hitters on Tuesday for the first time since he was shut down during Spring Training with a UCL sprain. In even more encouraging news, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com adds that Painter is not only expected to pitch competitively at some point this summer, but could make his big league debut sometime this season. That’s surely a relief for Phillies fans, given Painter appeared poised to slot into the club’s Opening Day rotation prior to his injury during the spring as baseball’s consensus top pitching prospect.
- Padres reliever Robert Suarez is making progress in his return to a big league mound, beginning a rehab assignment in the Arizona Complex League as noted by Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Suarez has been on the 60-day IL all season dealing with an elbow injury, but was a key piece of the San Diego bullpen last season with a 2.27 ERA in 47 2/3 innings of work. Sanders adds that Suarez is expected back sometime after the All Star break. Upon his return, Suarez figures to bolster a bullpen that ranks bottom ten in the majors with a 4.26 FIP.