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Two starters the Cardinals could target at the trade deadline

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

While the Cardinals season is more than likely toast, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t start making some improvements for 2024. The starting pitching has been a disaster, and next year, only Steven Matz and Miles Mikolas are under contract.

Given the Cardinals record, it’s obvious to that they’re going to have to sell to some degree. But you can also buy and sell at the same time, with the buying being geared towards 2024. Some pieces I could see being sold off are Jordan Hicks, Chris Stratton, Jack Flaherty, Paul DeJong, and Jordan Montgomery, though Montgomery’s injury could pose a problem.

Either way, I think it’s obvious that it isn’t happening in 2023 and that the focus should be on 2024 and beyond. With that said, the Cardinals will need to upgrade their starting pitching in order to get a head start on their offseason. Here are three starters that I think the Cardinals should target at the deadline.

Dylan Cease

I think it’s obvious at this point that every Cardinals fan has Cease listed as their top priority for the deadline. With the White Sox also out of contention, it makes sense for the Cards to go all in on someone like Cease.

Cease is a strikeout machine, which is something that the Cardinals have been craving for some time. He would also give them that frontline ace they’ve needed for a while. The Cardinals could then supplement him by adding somebody like Aaron Nola or Marcus Stroman in the offseason.

I was listening to the BK & Ferrario podcast on 101 ESPN, and they’ve constantly talked about how the Cardinals need to step out of their comfort zone in order to retool their rotation. It may take trading somebody like Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, Tommy Edman, or even Masyn Winn. But sacrifices have to be made in order for the pitching staff to improve for 2024. Cease, like all the starters I’ve listed here, has several years of club control as well.

Logan Gilbert

Another strikeout machine, Gilbert may not be quite an ace-type pitcher, but he is at the very least cost-controlled and is also a reliable rotation arm. A report from Jon Morosi stated that the Cardinals would be willing to listen to offers for some of their bats if it brought back controllable starting pitching. He also noted that the Cardinals had talked with the Mariners, who have some controllable starters.

George Kirby and Luis Castillo are likely off limits. However, Gilbert was a nice compliment to Castillo and Kirby last year when the Mariners made their run to the postseason. He would also instantly be the best starter for the Cardinals.

I would also imagine a similar package for Gilbert that I would for Cease, just maybe not as hefty. The Cardinals obviously have Donovan, Edman, Nootbaar, and Gorman. But Dylan Carlson or Juan Yepez could be had in a potential trade.