St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak meets with the media. St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak speaks with the media prior to a game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals have had a highly disappointing 2023 season, taking a 38-52 record into the second half. After entering the season as the National League Central favorites, the Cardinals find themselves 11.5 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds, and 11 games back in a crowded NL Wild Card race.

While the Cardinals’ true talent suggests they should be much better than that, it’s almost certainly too big of a hole to dig out of with two and a half months remaining in the season; FanGraphs gives St. Louis a 6.0% chance to reach the playoffs, but that’s while projecting a .540 rest-of-season winning percentage for a team that currently has a .422 winning percentage, so those odds are quite generous.

With the Aug. 1 trade deadline around the corner, the Cardinals are shaping up to be sellers.

St. Louis president of baseball operations — and head decision-maker — John Mozeliak made that clear in an interview with Martin Kilcoyne on “The Kilcoyne Conversation” podcast.

Mozeliak said, “I think right now I can tell you that we’re going to trade people.”

“I think right now I can tell you that we’re going to trade people. I just don’t know if it’s going to be like household names or more of guys that just aren’t likely going to be here next year. It’s easy to talk about what we may or may not do at the moment, but we’re not just going to like give away players. We want to get some value in return. We want to get some return that’s going to help us for 2024. And that’s going to  really be our focus as we enter the trading period.”

When Kilcoyne mentioned how the Cardinals also have the option to make qualifying offers to impending free agents and receive a compensation pick if a player(s) rejects the offer, Mozeliak indicated that St. Louis would value acquiring prospects at the trade deadline more than a pick: “Our hope is that we can more than just the pick, so that will be what we try to do.”

The clear “household names” on the Cardinals are third baseman Nolan Arenado and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Arenado — who has an average annual value over $30 million — is signed with St. Louis through 2027, while Goldschmidt’s five-year, $130 million contract concludes at the end of the 2024 season. In order to trade either superstar, Mozeliak and the Cardinals would surely have to get an absolute haul back.

If the Cardinals want to stick to trading upcoming free agents, starting pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty to go, as well as relievers Jordan Hicks and Chris Stratton. Montgomery would be in high demand as one of the top starting pitchers on the market; the 30-year-old southpaw has put together a 3.23 ERA while being valued at 2.3 wins above replacement this season by FanGraphs.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at