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the art of the deal

theyyesterday saw what was maybe the third mega-trade of the season (along with the latos, marshall, and continuing rumors of a garza trade). the cardinals show few, if any, signs of putting together such a trade. however, there's some value in taking a look at what we have to trade, and what we might be interested in.

a good place to start in discussing what we have to trade is future redbirds new top 20. if you haven't checked it out yet, you should. there may be some room to trade from the major league roster, but the most likely major league trade bait lies in our bullpen - mitch boggs, kyle mcclellan, for instance.

the untouchables: there are a couple prospects that i don't see the club ever trading. shelby miller seems off-limits, just because of his overwhelming talent and proximity to the majors. it's hard to think about what would be a fair return on miller. kolten wong also seems like a player the club will not move, having little serious rivalry at second base. trading wong would create a bigger vacuum than what any trade would fix.

the unlikely: i don't think these two prospects are out of bounds, but i think they probably have at least as much value to this club, if not more, relative to other clubs. matt adams i wouldn't have put in this category prior to the failed pujols negotiations. with pujols gone, adams has far more value to the club. however, adams seems like a decent, not great, first baseman. more important, first basemen seem far easier to replace on the free agent market at a reasonable price. oscar taveras is the other prospect who seems unlikely to move. he may be the cardinals best position player prospect. he's astonishingly talented. however, taveras carries a few question marks, and outfielders are not as hard to replace as other position players. last, he's still a couple years away. i think the club would have to be seriously tempted to consider trading either one.

the high-end talent: the club is chock-full of excellent pitching talent. as such, either carlos martinez or tyrell jenkins could be trade bait. they would be the centerpiece of any trade in which they were involved. expect great things in return for either.

they were expendable: in the event we are hunting less stellar prey, the second tier of our pitching talent could well be in play. joe kelly, jordan swagerty, trevor rosenthal, or maikel cleto are all possibilities. i think we'd be selling low on rosenthal, so i'd be most surprised to see him go anywhere - he lacks the market value of higher end talent, unless the trading partner scouts him carefully.

the third base crew: zack cox and matt carpenter are obviously fairly redundant, especially with a resurgent, world series hero david freese still more or less healthy. while there is nothing safe, the club realistically only needs so many third basemen. the no-brainer would be to put cox on the block. as a first-round pick he has an obvious pedigree that will be readily apparent and highly valued by a trading partner. carpenter is unlikely to have the same currency on the market, but may have equal value to this club. some players have obvious value that sells well on the trade market. others have value that will be hard to see for a club that hasn't scouted the player very carefully. cox is clearly the former; carpenter is the latter.

the targets: where would the club look for help? shortstop, center field, possibly a catching prospect, maybe an improvement prospect over adams at first? third base, left field, starting pitching, and the bullpen are all strengths. wong looks like a steady, up-and-coming second baseman. fellow prospects, like hak ju lee at short, or peter bourjos in center. and you'd need to match with a club with needs in this area - easy enough, when starting pitching is what you're selling. because cox is so expendable, i'd look for someone with an opening at third.