May 25, 2024

The St. Louis Cardinals have struggled during the 2024 MLB season. They are currently in last place in the NL Central with a 15-21 record, six games down of the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs, who are tied for first.

Only four teams in the MLB have a worse run differential than the Cardinals’ -34 so far. The injury to catcher Willson Contreras will exacerbate an already feeble offense, with 126 runs ranking last in the National League and second-lowest in baseball.

Contreras was struck in the arm on a swing by J.D. Martinez of the New York Mets this week and will require surgery. He will be out for at least six weeks, hurting an already dismal lineup.

With a bleaker-than-expected outlook, the St. Louis Cardinals could become sellers before the deadline. As a result, Just Baseball’s Tim Kelly has included two of their players in his top ten list of trade candidates.

Their closer, Ryan Helsley, is fourth on that list. His case is intriguing because, if the team hopes to compete soon, having a dominant relief pitcher at the end of games is a good luxury.

 

Cardinals: Ryan Helsley in same conversation with top MLB relievers

 

Since 2022, Helsley has been one of baseball’s best relief pitchers. His 1.69 ERA is the second-lowest among qualifying bullpen pitchers, and he would have a strong market if the Cardinals made him available.

Paul Goldschmidt, the previous MVP, ranks third on the list. At 36 years old, there are some concerns that he has reached the wall that many players do at some point in their careers, since the 2024 season has been a struggle for him.

In 35 games, he had a slash line of.195/.287/.263. Red flags present, as the lack of power is alarming, with only three doubles and two home runs in 152 plate appearances. He’s striking out more than ever before and walking at a near-career low rate.

In a contract year, Goldschmidt’s market may be limited, particularly given his level of production. However, he remains a superb fielding first baseman, and no one should underestimate his ability to get things going at the plate.

If Goldschmidt indicates that he wants to play for a contender, the St. Louis Cardinals may oblige by finding a trade partner for him. It will be something to keep an eye out for, as he and the squad still have time to get things back on track.

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