The St. Louis Cardinals have officially announced what we’ve been expecting for a while: They’re going to be sellers at this year’s trade deadline. For Dodgers fans, that’s a reason to get at least a little excited.
Last week, Cardinals president of baseball operations, John Mozeliak, told The Athletic‘s Chris Kirschner that the Cards are “going to trade people” this deadline.
“Right now, I can tell you that we’re going to trade people,” Mozeliak said. “I just don’t know if it’s going to be household names or more of guys that just aren’t likely going to be here next year.”
Cardinals president of baseball ops John Mozeliak in the interview below: “Right now, I can tell you we’re going to trade people. I just don’t know if it’s going to be household names or more of guys who are just not likely to be here next year.”https://t.co/CbNTk7eidN— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) July 12, 2023
Mozeliak did add that the team is “not going to just give away players,” (duh) and wants value in return (also duh), but he made it clear that they’re focused on getting a return that will help them in 2024.
So, in a lot of words, Mozeliak said that the Cardinals are sellers and are looking to add ready or close-to-ready MLB talent. Fortunately, there’s a team in the NL West that has a lot of that and is looking to win this year.
The Dodgers currently have eight players in the MLB Pipeline Top 100 prospects list (Bobby Miller has graduated), and tons more top prospects coming up right behind them. They have more MLB-ready talent than they know what to do with, and are in prime position to go all-in this deadline while still maintaining flexibility for Shohei Ohtani this winter.
While everyone has been linking LA to the Chicago White Sox — and understandably so — I actually think the Cardinals are the better fit, and have all the best options for LA to fill their greatest needs.
In three tiers, here are all the players LA could and should ask about for a potential deadline deal.
So You’re Saying There’s a Chance?
While a trade for Arenado is the most unrealistic, it’s also by far the best player LA could get this deadline (assuming Ohtani isn’t traded).
He fills all their biggest needs as a Platinum Glove third baseman and a strong righty bat, and would elevate this team to World Series favorite.
I don’t want to spend too much time on Arenado as I just wrote a whole article about why the Dodgers should trade for him, so you can read that by clicking here.
To make a long story short, though, if Arenado is on the table, the Dodgers must do anything and everything in their power to get him to LA.
The Realistic Upgrades
Now that Arenado is out of the way, let’s get to some of the more realistic (and cheaper) upgrades. Let’s start on offense, where the Cardinals are swimming with right-handed and switch-hitting bats, guys that would elevate the offense and add depth all over the field.
Edman is the definition of utility. The 28-year-old has played second base, shortstop, third base, right field, left field and center field in his career, and even won a Gold Glove in 2021 at second. Oh, he’s also a switch-hitter who hits righties and lefties fairly well, although lefties a little better.
On the year, Edman is hitting just .237 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 84 games. He wouldn’t cost a ton, and would be a great depth piece to play all around the diamond, and fill in full-time against left-handed pitching. He’s under team control for a few more years.
On the topic of switch-hitters, Carlson also hits from both sides of the plate and is better against lefties, like Edman.
The 24-year-old can play all three outfield spots, and is under team control through 2027. This year, he’s hitting .241 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 55 games. There’s a lot of potential in Carlson’s bat — the Dodgers could take a chance at unlocking it.
DeJong is having the best year of the three right now, hitting .231 with 12 home runs and 29 RBIs out of the shortstop position. He wouldn’t be a long-term commitment, as he has a team option for next season.
He would provide much more offense out of the shortstop spot than Miguel Rojas is giving right now, and, of course, provide a boost against left-handed pitching — he has a .881 OPS against lefties this year.
Okay, now onto the pitching side of things, where the Cardinals have a starter and reliever I have my eyes on.
The LA-native just feels like someone who’s going to end up with the Dodgers one day. I don’t know if it’s the SoCal look or the tight pants, but Flaherty feels destined to be a Dodger.
The Harvard-Westlake High School grad has had an up and down year in St. Louis this season, but has been much better as of late. Since seeing his ERA balloon to 6.29 in early May, it’s down to 4.27 as we head into the second half of the year.
Flaherty is a hard-throwing righty and gives major Walker Buehler, Bobby Miller vibes. He’s a free agent at the end of this year, and would absolutely fortify the Dodgers rotation for the stretch run and postseason as a potential rental.
You didn’t think I’d go through this whole list without mentioning a bullpen guy, right?
The Cardinals ‘pen has been rough this year, but Hicks has been decent and would definitely benefit from being in a different environment.
On the year, Hicks has a 3.93 ERA in 36.2 innings, and has struck out an impressive 55 batters in that time. The 26-year-old also has seven saves, and could be used in higher-leverage situations.
He’s a free agent at the end of this year, so he would be an addition for the sole purpose of this postseason run.
Take a Chance on Me?
One final guy I wanted to mention is someone currently on the 60-day injured list.
O’Neill hasn’t played since the beginning of May with back issues, but he could be someone the Dodgers take a chance on as a right-handed outfielder to bolster the lineup.
At his best, the 28-year-old hit 34 home runs and 80 RBIs on his way to finishing eighth in MVP voting in 2021. He had a down year in 2022 before missing most of 2023, so his value would definitely not be as high.
Still, he’s proved he can play at the highest of levels — he won back-to-back Gold Gloves in 2020 and 2021 — and could be a huge bat to add to an already potent lineup for the second half of the season.
They would, of course, have to make sure he’s healthy. But if he is, he would be the exact right-handed, power-hitting bat that would elevate this lineup for the postseason.
Which of these Cardinals players do you most want the Dodgers to target? Sound off in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, rumors, interviews, live streams, and more!