Outfielder Magneuris Sierra is one of the prospects the Cardinals probably could afford to trade in the right deal this winter. (Mark Harrell/Springfield Cardinals)

By Rob Rains

If the Cardinals are going to acquire the players they want this winter through trades, it will almost certainly involve dealing some of the organization’s top prospects.

While it seems highly unlikely they will part with any of their mega-prospects – including pitchers Alex Reyes, Jack Flaherty, Luke Weaver or Sandy Alcantara, Dakota Hudson or catcher Carson Kelly – the organization is still loaded with players who should be of interest to other teams.

Here is a look at 10 prospects the Cardinals might be willing to include in the right deal:

Magneuris Sierra – Some of the outfielders are going to have to go, and Sierra’s name likely will be near the top of the list from teams discussing potential deals with the Cardinals. Just 21, he made it from A ball to the majors this season for 22 games and acquitted himself well. He is not ready to be a full-time major-leaguer yet, however, and if he stays in the organization probably would begin in Double A in 2018. The fact the team has several outfielders ahead of Sierra, and some coming behind him, such as Dylan Carlson, could make Sierra expendable. His best attribute is speed, but Sierra only stole a combined 22 bases in 123 games this season and between Palm Beach and Springfield hit .270 in 408 at-bats.

Jordan Hicks – As is the case with Sierra, putting the 21-year-old Hicks on this list doesn’t mean the Cardinals don’t like him because they do. But other team also saw the right-handed Hicks touch 100 miles per hour this season, and saw how strongly he pitched near the end of the season for Palm Beach. Teams will get more of a chance to see him this fall pitching in Arizona. As much potential as Hicks has, however, he probably ranks no higher than sixth on the Cardinals’ list of pitching prospects, and probably is at least two years away from being ready for the major leagues.

Patrick Wisdom - Despite hitting 31 homers at Triple A Memphis this season, the 26-year-old third baseman does not seem to be in the Cardinals’ plans. If he is not traded and is not added to the 40-man roster, the team almost certainly would lose him in the Rule 5 draft or as a free agent and it probably would be in his best interests to get a fresh start in another organization instead of returning to Memphis for a third consecutive season in 2018. The knock on Wisdom is that with the home runs come a lot of strikeouts – 149 in 456 at-bats this year – and a low .243 average, which still was the best he has hit since he was in rookie ball in 2012.

Oscar Mercado – Mercado also must be added to the 40-man roster this fall or will no doubt be claimed in the Rule 5 draft unless he is traded first. The former shortstop emerged as a legitimate prospect this year after being moved to the outfield, hitting .287 with 13 homers and 38 stolen bases at Springfield. He also was impressive defensively and still is only 22 years old, showing teams he probably has not reached his peak potential. Mercado also is playing in the Arizona Fall League and can use his performance there to either force his way onto the 40-man roster or as a springboard to another organization.

Junior Fernandez – If the Cardinals are going to trade prospects, it makes sense for them to deal from their areas of strength, which is outfielders and pitching. That’s why the 20-year-old Fernandez could become of interest to other teams, considering the right-hander lags behind a lot of quality pitchers in the Cardinals’ system and probably is three years or so away from making the majors. He had a solid season at Palm Beach, going 5-3 with a 3.69 ERA, this year.

Derian Gonzalez – Not as well-known as some of the other Cardinals’ pitching prospects, the 22-year-old Gonzalez will have to be placed on the 40-man roster or could be claimed in the Rule 5 draft. He pitched at Palm Beach this year and recorded 72 strikeouts in 79 innings, continuing his career performance of averaging almost a strikeout per inning.

Edmundo Sosa – The 2017 season was basically a lost year for Sosa because of injuries which limited him to just 58 games. The 21-year-old shortstop still ranks as one of the team’s best position prospects, but the emergence of Paul DeJong as a legitimate big-league shortstop and the presence of former first-round pick Delvin Perez behind Sosa in the system could be enough reasons for the Cardinals to think about including Sosa in a trade this winter.

Randy Arozarena
– One of several players the Cardinals have signed recently out of Cuba, Arozarena had a good first season in the organization, hitting .266 with 11 homers and 18 stolen bases combined between Palm Beach and Springfield. As is the case with Sierra and Mercado, however, the 22-year-old outfielder could be available simply because of the outfield depth in the organization.

Ryan Helsley – Pitching without the hype of the Cardinals’ top prospects, Helsley has quietly made himself into someone who has caught the organization’s eye and likely that of other teams as well. A fifth-round draft pick in 2015 out of a small college in Oklahoma, the 23-year-old right-hander climbed from Palm Beach to end the year with Memphis this season. He was a combined 11-3 at the Class A and Double A levels with a 2.69 ERA, averaging a strikeout per inning.

Anthony Garcia
– Dropped from the 40-man roster during the season, Garcia was one of the group of outfield prospects who had a big season at Springfield, where he hit 15 homers to go with a .294 average. Now 25, Garcia has bounced back and forth between Springfield and Memphis for the last three seasons and, like Wisdom, likely deserves a fresh start in another organization.

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