Our last posting took a look at shortstops that the Cardinals could potentially acquire. In that post I alluded to the fact that the Cardinals have the money and Farm System to acquire any name on that list. This post will take a look at the Cardinals long list of trade chips, which includes young Major Leaguers and Minor Leaguers.
–Shelby Miller, RHP- The 23-year-old Miller dominated during his rookie season in route to finishing 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting. His fastball averaged 93.5 mph, which was 10th among all qualified Starting Pitchers. He would likely be the most coveted Starting Pitcher available from the Cardinals and only involved in a deal for a top-tier talent.
–Carlos Martinez, RHP- Martinez is very well-developed for a 22-year-old, as I mentioned in his scouting report before he was called up. He likely would have started a few games for many other organizations, but for the Cardinals he was only able to contribute from the Bullpen. The hard-throwing Martinez finished the 2013 season with a 3.08 FIP out of the Cardinals’ bullpen.
–Trevor Rosenthal, RHP- If Rosenthal stays with the Cardinals he will likely serve as their closer in 2014, but if he is traded to a team in need of starting pitching, then he will likely be given an opportunity to start. For such a hard-thrower, Rosenthal has an outstanding change-up, which would help him as a starter. As a reliever in 2013, he had a 12.90 K/9, which ranked 6th among qualified relievers.
–Lance Lynn, RHP- Lynn is the oldest pitcher on this list at 26 years old. However, that does not mean he will not be sought after, as he is 33-16 as a starter in the MLB with a 3.87 ERA and an 8.9 K/9. His FIP has always been better than his ERA, which suggests he should be able to bring his ERA down in the future.
–Joe Kelly, RHP- Similar to Lynn, Kelly is a little old compared with others on this list, as he is 25 years old. However, unlike Lynn, Kelly’s ERA is much better than his FIP, which means his ERA will likely increase in the future. Kelly is a ground ball pitcher with a power sinker, which could play anywhere. He would likely be involved in a deal for a more mid-tier talent or would need to be paired with one of the above pitchers to return a top-tier talent.
–Tyrell Jenkins, RHP- Jenkins is one of the Cardinals’ top Minor League pitching prospects. He is just 21 years old, but there are concerns about his shoulder, as he was shutdown in July of this season due to shoulder pain.
–Kevin Siegrist, LHP- Siegrest came out of nowhere this past season, but delivered outstanding results, as he pitched to a .45 ERA across 39 2/3 Major League innings. He is a hard-throwing lefty, but his ceiling is as a reliever.
–Seth Maness, RHP- I do not foresee Maness getting traded other than as a throw-in piece because his stuff is below average. He does not throw hard for a reliever, but he is a groundball machine, with a 68.4% ground ball rate out of the Cardinals bullpen.
–Jordan Swagerty, RHP- He missed most of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery. He is 24 years old, which means this injury will likely remove him from any considerations as a Starting Pitcher. Before the injury, Swagerty dominated the Minors, so there it is still likely he could be effective at the MLB level once he is healthy.
–Tyler Lyons, LHP- Lyons was successful as a Starter in Triple-A, but struggled when he was promoted to the Majors. He could serve as a throw-in player, but is likely viewed as a reliever for most clubs, as he is a lefty with plus command and an above-average breaking ball.
–Matt Adams, 1B- Matt Adams continues to dispel doubters, as he finished his 2013 campaign with a .284/.335/.503 slash line and 17 HRs. He may not be a mobile first basemen, but his power will play anywhere. Since he is blocked by Allen Craig and there is a shortage of good power-hitting free agents, Adams will likely be a major target for any club talking to the Cardinals.
–Kolten Wong, 2B- Wong is a former 1st round pick out of The University of Hawaii. He will likely be the Cardinals’ starting second basemen in 2014. However, if they decide to keep David Freese, then Wong could be dealt for the right piece.
-David Freese, 3B- Freese is likely on his way out, as his salary will increase again this offseason, likely to a point that is not commensurate with his 2013 production. Many clubs will be interested in buying low on the former World Series MVP, but he would not be the centerpiece of any significant trade.
–Ryan Jackson, SS- Likewise, Jackson would not be the centerpiece of any trade. However, he could be a nice throw-in piece to serve as a backup or stopgap at shortstop for a team, as he is a strong defender, who hits lefties well.
–Carson Kelly, 3B- Kelly was just drafted in 2012 and is only 19 years old, but the 3rd basemen has a very high ceiling. He could serve as a sort of lottery ticket player in a trade, similar to Mike Montgomery in the Wil Myers–James Shields trade.
–Oscar Taveras, OF- Easily the top prospect in the Cardinals system, and likely untouchable unless the Cardinals are dealing for an elite talent, such as Troy Tulowitzki or David Price. Nevertheless, he is on the list, because all potential trade talks will begin with his availability, as every club will want him. He has drawn comparisons to Vladimir Guerrero for his power and aggressiveness. He is arguably the #1 or #2 prospect in all of baseball.
–James Ramsey, OF- A former 1st round pick of the Cardinals in 2012, Ramsey was taken as a low-ceiling but high-floor kind of prospect. This means he was already well-developed and would move through the Minors quickly, but would never be a star. Ramsey will likely be blocked or forced to serve as a 4th outfielder for the Cardinals, but on a team in need of an outfielder, he could likely start in one of the outfield spots by 2015.
These are most of the names that will come up in trade discussions involving the Cardinals. Like we mentioned in the previous post, a trade is very likely and it will likely involve more than one of the names on this list.