If we want to contend now

I am thinking about the market a bit right now, and things are finally getting moving a bit. Darvish signed, Hosmer signed, and Martinez signed. That takes the "elite" (kind of) players off the market, but leaves quite a bit of talent still out there.

To be completely honest, i think we are done for the offseason. I think Mo took too long to make calls and valued our young talent much more than it should have been in trades. Additionally, he didn't want to sign big fish in an attempt to catch the Cubs, Dodgers, Nationals, and hell even the Brewers now. He was content with being average or slightly above average. Not what i wanted to see this offseason. I've grown too used to having a competitive team in the last 10 years so a 3 year playoff drought is rough - but hey at least we arent the Reds right?

But anyway, here is what i propose. A just-for-fun offseason hypothetical that could change our team and give us a real shot at the World Series, at least in my opinion. Its going to be expensive in terms of $$ and prospects, but still, I think at least some people would like to see it happen, others not so much. But oh well, playing armchair GM is too much fun.

So step 1 would be to bring our middle of the pack starting rotation to the top 5 in the league. It will take 2 moves to do so.

Move 1: Make a move for Chris Archer. The Rays are having a fire sale and all talent is being shopped for younger talent. There were faint rumblings and scenarios proposed early this winter that people would like STL to call on Archer, well now would be that time. In this hypothetical, im going to give up 3 prospects that are very very good. It will probably take these 3 plus some filler - but i would do it still. So here it is:

STL acquires: Chris Archer

TB acquries: Carson Kelly , Luke Weaver , Harrison Bader + lower level talent player if need be

Thats a lot to trade away, but the Rays are getting a new starting pitcher, catcher and at least a viable platoon option at Of with room to grow. Cardinals get a near-ace level pitcher on the friendliest of contracts.

Move 2: We take advantage of the slow market and the chance for this pitcher to come in and compete against his former team, that opted to go elsewhere, in a move that lands us Jake Arietta. Currently the only rumor is that he is talking to the Phillies. I would like to think an almost 32 year old pitcher would much rather play for a playoff contender than a rebuilding team (who has a bright future ahead of them to be honest). So step 1 and the corresponding 2 moves is complete with this:

STL signs Jake Arietta to a 5 year 100 million contract with an opt out after 2 years.

Your new STL Cardinals starting rotation :

Carlos Martinez - Chris Archer - Jake Arrieta - Michael Wacha - Miles Mikolas/Adam Wainwright

Not bad eh

Step 2 involves once again capitalizing on the slow market to add one last piece to our bullpen. With this move we would probably have to get rid of an already established player in the pen, but so be it, this is an upgrade. And as much as i want Jason Motte to be the beast he was for us at one time, i dont really see it. So the slow market allows us an affordable move for a closer in the form of:

STL signs Greg Holland to a 3 year 36 millon deal.

Money isn't what he is searching for, but hes not going to touch Wade Davis 3/52 deal , and this late in free agency its a fair deal with a solid team.

And with step 2 you have a complete pitching outlook for the year, while still holding solid trade chips for future moves. Speaking of which

Step 3: This one is kind of cheating since it could be or doesn't have to be an offseason move. It involves us getting one more impact bat. But here it is, pick one of the following to complete this team for the time being.

- Sign Mike Moustakas to a 1 year deal. This man is getting hosed on the market. And while he anticipated a multi year deal for a hefty some, he is a cold commodity (is that a saying?). So here lets say it is 1 year / 10 million.

- Trade for Manny Machado midseason. The cost will be low (but still cost a nice prospect). Maybe a playoff run can convince him to stay for the long haul. I assume Baltimore's asking price would have gone down by then (and that they aren't in contention for the playoffs). So lets say this gets it done:

STL acquires Manny Machado

BAL acquries Jordan Hicks + Connor Greene + lower level infielder

I would rather have Machado, but both give us an impact bat at the very least. With this move the Cardinals could have a tremendous bench with a starting level player on it at all times. Gyorko, Marp, Martinez, Wong and DeJong can all rotate as need be within the lineups. May i add a slimmed down Gyorko looks healthy and able to play a solid 2B as well.

But there you have it. An expensive as hell offseason/midseason that sees the Cardinals coming out with a top 5 rotation and a top 10 bullpen. Add that to a top 5 outfield and a top 15 infield unit and this team could make some noise.

Will it happen? No.

Should it happen? Probably still no.

But would it be fun? Hell yea.

What do yall think? What would you like to see happen in the late portions of FA or perhaps at the deadline?