The St. Louis Cardinals are quickly falling out of the playoff picture in 2021.
Despite the addition of superstar Nolan Arenado, the team’s 37-41 record has them in fourth place in the National League Central division.
The Cardinals are looking like sellers at the upcoming trade deadline, and there are a few players in particular who could very well be on their way out.
3. Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller isn’t the player he used to be, but he still has something left in the tank.
At his best, Miller was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the game.
From 2014 to 2017, he pitched to a 1.72 ERA, 1.83 FIP, and 0.79 WHIP while fanning 421 batters in 261 innings.
He was named an All-Star twice in that span and also finished in the top 10 of the Cy Young Award race twice.
It was an incredible run for the lefty.
In recent years, he has regressed to an average relief option.
Since 2018, he has pitched to a 4.21 ERA, 4.34 FIP, and 1.35 WHIP over 142 appearances.
He still strikes out hitters at a very high clip, but his run-prevention statistics have worsened.
This season specifically, he has a 4.50 ERA over 16 appearances.
While the concept of a lefty specialist has lost some relevance in recent years due to the relatively new three-batter minimum rule, Miller could prove to be valuable in a similar role.
Left-handed hitters are batting just .133 with a .435 OPS against Miller this season.
He is a free agent after the year.
2. Yadier Molina
Like it or not, trading Yadier Molina would be the best business decision the Cardinals could make.
With loyalty at play, it may not happen, as the veteran has spent his entire 18-year career with St. Louis.
But the nine-time All-Star is playing on an expiring deal, and he could prove to be a value rental option for a contending team.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 26, 2021
Molina is having a fine offensive season despite his best years being behind him.
In 57 games, the 38-year-old has a .254 average and a 106 OPS+, a mark that is better than league-average.
He has homered seven times and doubled 13 times.
His veteran presence behind the plate would be a net positive for any team, and so would his defense, as he has posted a positive defensive WAR in every year of his career.
1. Adam Wainwright
Age is just a number for Adam Wainwright, who is having another solid campaign despite pushing 40 years of age.
April 18, 2010- Adam Wainwright strikes out Fernando Tatís Sr.
April 7, 2019- Adam Wainwright strikes out Fernando Tatís Jr. pic.twitter.com/EOan1y7l4K
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 7, 2019
Like Molina, Wainwright has spent his entire career with the Cardinals, so the club may be reluctant to trade him away.
But just like the other players on this list, the righty’s contract is up after the season.
If the Cardinals want to maximize their haul at the deadline, they’ll ship away all of their rental candidates.
Wainwright is a three-time All-Star who has a career 3.39 ERA.
From 2016 to 2019, he struggled to an uncharacteristic 4.58 ERA over 96 outings, and it looked like his age was starting to become a factor.
But over 25 starts since the beginning of 2020, Wainwright has managed a 3.41 ERA, 115 ERA+, 3.99 FIP, and 1.09 WHIP.
Those numbers would provide a huge boost to any contending team.
The Cleveland Indians come to mind as a possible suitor, as they need starting pitching in the worst way.
We’ll see which direction the Cardinals choose to go at the deadline.