1. Jordan Walker, St. Louis Cardinals
Time to pay the piper, Cardinals. You’re boring. We’re boring. How about a little hybrid re-tool?
Move Alex Reyes to an eighth inning role, trade for Aroldis Chapman, and trade off the slugging third base prospect who will always and forever rank behind the Two Nolans, Arenado and Gorman.
Jordan Walker, the Cardinals’ third third baseman and 2020 first-round pick, is destroying the baseball at High-A, recently promoted and hitting .365 with a .465 OBP across levels. Not bad. We’ll take it.
The Cards have shown a willingness in recent years to absorb elite talent when it presents itself, and pivoted monstrously to Arenado this offseason when that deal seemed dead in the water at the tail end of 2019. If the two teams can agree to split the load on the closer financially, and come to some sort of consensus where each team throws in a little something extra — a top prospect like Volpe from the Yankees, an MLB-ready piece like bounce-back candidate Harrison Bader from the Cards — this unorthodox deal could become a reality.
Chapman is an All-Star. He’s the upper echelon of the upper echelon. There’s a reason opposing teams are still fearful of his entrance, even though we know better.
The experience of housing him on this roster since the end of 2016 has largely been a nail-biting and uncomfortable one, though, and he may finally have reached the end of the road at this hybrid deadline.