Cardinals injuries show Yankees were smart to avoid messy offseason trade

But remember Dylan Carlson was an absolute necessity?
St. Louis Cardinals v Minnesota Twins
St. Louis Cardinals v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Obviously, the situation would've probably been different had a few players traded places, but if the New York Yankees have learned anything over the last six years, it's that injury-prone players are indeed ... prone to injury, whether it's an explicable pattern or freak accident.

So, over the last year, as the Yankees plunged ahead with an outfield full of infielders, trade rumors swirled and linked them to teams with a surplus in that area of the roster. The No. 1 match was the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cards, who were arguably more disappointing than the Yankees in 2023, employ a ton of outfielders, including Dylan Carlson, Jordan Walker, Alec Burleson and Lars Nootbaar. Others such as Brendan Donovan, Tommy Edman and Nolan Gorman can roam the pastures, too. Tyler O'Neill was once employed by STL before he was traded to the Red Sox. You see how this was very clearly a logical connection.

There was one problem, however. Well, actually two. The first was that all of those guys, with the exception of O'Neill, are under club control for quite some time, which exponentially raised their price tag in trade talks. And the Yankees didn't exactly have the pieces to satiate what the Cards might've been looking for. There's also no doubt the Cardinals were unwilling to trade a few.

And secondly ... the top name linked to the Yankees in Dylan Carlson is literally always injured, which would've been a nightmare fit for the Bombers, who deal with an inordinate amount of injuries on an annual basis.

Just prior to Opening Day, Carlson suffered a new ailment after colliding with teammate Jordan Walker in the outfield.

Cardinals injuries show Yankees were smart to avoid messy offseason trade

Carlson, outside of a solid rookie season in 2021, has underperformed as a result of injuries since, appearing in just over 200 games the past two years. There's a good chance he won't be ready for the start of 2024, either.

Next up on the possible list of trade candidates was Lars Nootbaar, another lefty-swinging outfielder who may have been falling out of favor in St. Louis due to injuries and an inability to take the next step. He'll be starting the year on the IL with a couple rib fractures.

There's a reason both Carlson and Nootbaar were the most frequently rumored trade candidates, being that Burleson, Walker, Donovan, Edman and Gorman are either all better, have higher upside, or aren't hampered by constant health obstacles.

Instead, the Yankees, though they waited too long as 2023 cratered right in front of their eyes, ended up going out and acquiring Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham this offseason -- all of whom are better options than Carlson and Nootbaar. Not only that, but Carlson or Nootbaar would not have moved the needle in 2023 as the rest of the roster was engulfed with injuries and underperformance.

Hat tip to the Yankees' front office for remaining patient on the outfield search, even though it should've never gotten to this point in the first place.