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The Most Prudent Path Forward: Part II


In the last article, Part I of this series, I went through the reasoning for trades and what types of prospects that I believe the Cardinals could get in return. Here was the summary from the previous article. A quick reminder that a 50 future value (FV) player is a guy whose most likely outcome (as seen by prospect evaluators) is an average major league player. That's not an average professional player, mind you. That's an average major leaguer. A 45 FV guy is a guy whose most likely outcome is half a standard deviation worse than that. A 40 FV guy is a full standard deviation worse than a 50, etc. This scale goes between 20 and 80. Most prospects have 50 and below FVs.


Summary


Before the deadline

  • Trade Montgomery for a 45+ FV position player prospect + Stratton/VerHagen/Cabrera for a 45+ FV pitching prospect

  • Trade Flaherty for a 45+ FV position player prospect + Stratton/VerHagen/Cabrera for a 45+ FV pitching prospect

  • Trade Jordan Hicks for a low level prospect unless he catches lightning in a bottle then get something better for him

  • Trade Tyler O'Neill for a future potential front end (1, 2, or 3 but not ace level) starter

  • Trade DeJong for a 45 FV position player prospect

Before the deadline OR in the offseason

  • Still try to move Steven Matz, Genesis Cabrera, and anyone else you are "out" on like Jake Woodford and Juan Yepez (not me, the team)


In this article, I'm going to be expanding upon the individual players from specific teams that I would like to target as returns for Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Chris Stratton, Drew VerHagen, Jordan Hicks, Tyler O'Neill, and Paul DeJong at this year's trade deadline.


The Ideal Returns


In return for Montgomery and VerHagen/Stratton AND in return for Flaherty and Stratton/VerHagen, I ask for basically the same return from any of these 5 teams - so looking to get back two sets of two prospects.

From Arizona:

  • one of 1B/3B Ivan Melendez, OF Dominic Fletcher, 3B/OF AJ Vukovich and

  • one of RHP Slade Cecconi and LHP Yu-Min Lin

Note: If it's Cecconi, I sure as heck better be getting Fletcher. I'd much rather Lin and whichever of the three position players that Arizona would like to give up.


From Philadelphia:

  • one of C Rickardo Perez, SS William Bergolla Jr., OF Gabriel Rincones Jr. and

  • two of RHP Orion Kerkering, RHP Micah Ottenbreit, RHP Enrique Segura

If the position player isn't Rincones Jr., then I might ask for all three pitchers. These options are the weakest of the bunch. I probably avoid it. Or ask for a bigger get.


From Baltimore:

  • one of OF Hudson Haskin, OF Jud Fabian

  • one of RHP Chayce McDermott, LHP Drew Rom

I actually really like this option. Any combination.


From Los Angeles Angels:

  • two of SS Livan Soto, OF Nelson Rada, SS Arol Vera, OF Randy De Jesus, OF Jordyn Adams and

  • one of RHP Ben Joyce, RHP Caden Dana, RHP Jake Madden

At least one of the two position players has to be either Soto or Rada. I'd rather Joyce or Dana on the pitching side. If I get Joyce I'd consider two of the "others" when it comes to position players.


From New York Mets:

  • two of SS/3B Jesus Baez, OF Nick Morabito, OF Stanley Consuegra, 3B Jacob Reimer, 3B/SS William Lugo, OF Simon Juan and

  • one of RHP Calvin Ziegler, RHP Dominic Hamel, RHP Mike Vasil, RHP Joel Diaz

I'd prefer Vasil (preferably) or Hamel out of the pitchers.


In return for Hicks we get a low level something or another.

The Baltimore Orioles look like a serious playoff contending team in 2023 and yet they have the second most bullpen meltdowns in the majors this year (per Fangraphs Shutdown/Meltdown statistics). They could use a back end of the rotation piece and if Jordan Hicks can turn into that guy, then maybe the Cardinals could get a bit back for him. The look here is something back end of the top 30 for sure - a lower level high risk, high ceiling type. This could look like OF prospect Braylin Tavera. However, I'd almost rather them go for a high performing pitcher that might not pan out - RHP Noah Denoyer.


In return for DeJong we get either a 45 FV position player prospect or a 40 FV position player prospect + another piece.

The Orioles, Dodgers, Yankees, and Marlins are all winning despite getting nearly absolutely nothing from their shortstop position. You could potentially get any of them to overpay for Paul DeJong right now. What would I want in return from each?


From Baltimore Orioles:

  • OF prospect Jud Fabian OR

  • two of LHP prospect Drew Rom, RHP prospect Carter Baumler, SS prospect Maikol Hernandez

From Los Angeles Dodgers:

  • 2B/SS prospect Rayne Doncon OR

  • RHP prospect River Ryan (I don't think this one happens) OR

  • RHP prospect Joel Ibarra OR

  • 3B prospect Oswaldo Osorio and either RHP prospect Michael Grove or LHP prospect Ronan Kopp

From New York Yankees

  • SS prospect Roderick Arias OR

  • one of SS/2B prospect Keiner Delgado or Enmanuel Tejeda PLUS one of the gagillion (yes, that's a number now, listen to the Math teacher) pitching prospects the Yankees have, like Brendan Beck.

From Miami Marlins

  • SS prospect Jacob Amaya OR

  • SS/2B prospect Khalil Watson OR

  • 2B/3B prospect Ian Lewis OR

  • LHP prospect Josh Simpson and either OF prospect Jose Gerardo and Anthony Peguero or RHP prospect Josh White or Nic Enright


In return for O'Neill we get a 45-50 FV pitcher.

Interestingly enough, there are rumors of the New York Yankees looking to trade for or sign TON in the offseason. Clayton Beeter having joined them last year for Joey Gallo looks like a good player to go after, as would Drew Thorpe, Will Warren, Richard Fitts, or Randy Vasquez. I personally think Beeter (if the Cardinals believe that his command will stand up as a starter) or Thorpe are who they should go after in a return. Of course, this all hinges on how badly the Yankees want Tyler O'Neill for the last two months this year and the exclusive negotiating window.

 

I believe this to be the most prudent way to get a quick retool for the St. Louis Cardinals. You get rid of Montgomery, Flaherty, VerHagen, Sratton, Hicks, O'Neill, and DeJong at the same trade deadline and you get a haul of prospects in return. My preferred return would be:

  • RHP Drew Thorpe (50 FV per MLB Pipeline, 45 FV per Prospects Live) - Yankees

  • RHP River Ryan (45 FV per both) - Dodgers

  • OF Jud Fabian (45 FV per both) - Orioles

  • OF Dominic Fletcher (45 FV per both) - D'Backs

  • LHP Drew Rom (45 FV per both) - Orioles

  • LHP Yu-Min Lin (45 FV per both) - D'Backs

  • OF Braylin Tavera (40 FV per both) if Hicks doesn't turn into a shutdown closer, but if he does then add SS Maikol Hernandez (40 FV per both) - Orioles

I don't know what any of these trades look like in the wacky Baseball Trade Simulator thing that's so easy to use and yet super convoluted (and that Kyle LOVES so much), but if the Cardinals are able to add these 8 guys above, including what they have in the minor leagues already MLB Pipeline would have the Cardinals with two 55 FV prospects, four 50 FV prospects, and eighteen 45 FV prospects. If we look at what Prospects Live thinks, the Cardinals would be up to one 60 FV prospect, two 55 FV prospects, three 50 FV prospects), and eighteen 45 FV prospects. Either way, with Burleson, Liberatore, and Walker already having graduated off of both of those lists, the Cardinals would be absolutely loaded in the minors.


I'm not going to be promising a Part III, but if I have time....


In Part III, I dig into those 8 prospects a little bit and then talk about who I would attempt to sign in the offseason, assuming a reasonable (for the Cardinals) payroll.

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