Casey Mize Trade Option Number 1 – The St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals were a thoroughly average team for most of 2021 until they put together a historic 17-game winning streak in September and earned a Wild Card berth. That’s an impressive feat, particularly when their starting rotation finished 21st in fWAR (7.9), right behind the Detroit Tigers (8.1). Adam Wainwright was terrific in his age-39 season, but budding young ace Jack Flaherty was injured and ineffective for most of the year, and many of their starts went to converted relievers like John Gant and Carlos Martínez, or aging veterans like Jon Lester and J.A. Happ.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals offense finished with the 3rd best WAR in the National League, behind only the Dodgers and Giants. And most of that talent isn’t going anywhere. The outfield trio of Harrison Bader, Dylan Carlson, and Tyler O’Neill all remain under team control for at least two more seasons, while all-star infielders Nolan Arenado, Paul DeJong, and Paul Goldschmidt are signed for multiple years. And then there’s 26-year-old second baseman Tommy Edman, who isn’t a star by any means, but just put together a 2+ WAR season, finished second in the National League with 30 stolen bases, and isn’t a free agent until 2026.
Like Casey Mize, Nolan Gorman was drafted in the first round in 2018, and he quickly established himself as a top-100 prospect after bashing 17 home runs in his first 63 pro games. Gorman has a strong arm, and had a chance to be an average defender at third base, but he began playing mostly second base when the Cardinals acquired Arenado. To Gorman’s credit, he has been adequate at his new position, but given his size and age (he’s just four months older than Riley Greene) it seems unlikely he can stick at the keystone for long.
A universal DH might solve this problem, and the Cardinals probably wouldn’t hesitate to move Edman to make room for Gorman. But St. Louis has plenty of offense, and Tommy Edman probably doesn’t bring back Casey Mize. In Gorman, the Tigers get another potential cornerstone power bat who could develop into something of a left-handed Austin Riley. Isaac Paredes and Johan Oviedo are both young players with promising upside but no MLB success yet, and here they get a change of scenery while providing their new teams with a little bit of positional insurance.