The Duel

The Cardinals Should Trade This Player While They Still Can

Tristan Jung
The St. Louis Cardinals should explore a trade this offseason.
The St. Louis Cardinals should explore a trade this offseason. / Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals had a very quiet offseason, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be looking at potentially making some moves to improve their team. While the Cardinals made the NLCS last year, they are still a few moves away from becoming the preeminent NL Central power their fans are expecting them to be.

One potential trade candidate is center fielder Harrison Bader, who has been a regular part of the lineup for the last two seasons.

Bader has many positive impacts on the team defensively, but his offense could use work. While Baseball Savant's new Outs Above Average statistic ranked him as the fourth-best defensive outfielder in the league last season, he hit a paltry .205/.314/.366.

Bader did have a passable .756 OPS in 2018, but if those are his peak offensive numbers, he could be better-suited to a utility outfield role. Meanwhile, the Cardinals' top prospect, outfielder Dylan Carlson, tore up the minor leagues and should make an appearance in the majors in 2020.

Carlson doesn't have Bader's defensive skills, but after putting up a .281/.364/.518 line in Double-A with 21 homers and 18 stolen bases, that doesn't really matter. In just 18 Triple-A games, he slugged 5 homers upon arrival. The Cardinals cannot keep a bat like Carlson out of the lineup for long.

Although the Cardinals would probably like to move right fielder Dexter Fowler, he has a full no-trade clause and is on an $82.5 million contract. With the versatile Tommy Edman also capable of playing the outfield, Bader is the most obvious candidate to be moved.

Because of his defensive skills, Bader will still command some value on the trade market. He will be under team control through 2023 and has tremendous value for teams in need of outfield defense. While he might not be able to get a top prospect in return, he could get a few mid-level prospects or be used as a sweetener if the Cardinals try to acquire a top pitcher or hitter.

The timeline of a Bader trade would be difficult given the delayed season, but the Cardinals should be considering the future of their outfield very soon.

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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.