The St. Louis Cardinals have a long history of draft success, a key contributor to the club being a perennial contender. When a talent gap occurs, the team has not been hesitant to step into the free agent market when necessary.
Of course, trades are the most common method of trying to improve a club instantly. A proven major leaguer is added who helps spur the team to greater heights. There are many such examples in Cardinals franchise history.
Yet the full benefits of some deals are not immediately evident.
That is the focus of this article. I have been thinking about the best Cardinals that came over from another major league organization while still in the minor leagues, then reaching the big-leagues and becoming a star with St. Louis.
Four names come to mind almost immediately – two from the past and two from the present. Three are in the organization today – two as active players and one in the front office. There are probably others worthy of consideration that I have forgott...