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Should we trust John Mozeliak to fix the Cardinals pitching?

St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Cardinals are going to have their work cut out for them this winter. At the top of the priority list will be what John Mozeliak said at the trade deadline. Pitching. Pitching. Pitching.

The starting rotation takes precedence in my opinion. The bullpen needs work too, but a good rotation can sometimes help mask bullpen struggles. We know that Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz will be with the team next year. Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty are already gone, and Adam Wainwright will retire.

Mozeliak has said that he intends to add three starting pitchers this winter. Hearing this, I was hoping that one of those pitchers would be an ace like Blake Snell or Aaron Nola, and I’m still hoping that.

It’s clear that the Cardinals understand they have a lot of work to do in order to make this team good again. But it begs the question over whether or not we should trust Mo to do this right.

Below, I will make a case for why we should trust Mo to do this, and a case for why it’s fair for fans to be skeptical about things.

Argument 1: Mo will do this right

I think we can all take solace in the fact that this season has been somewhat of a wakeup call for the front office, and hopefully ownership as well. Mo said a while back that he knows he’ll need to spend money in order to get pitching.

There will be plenty of good starters to choose from in free agency. In addition to Nola and Snell, Julio Urias, Sonny Gray, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Lucas Giolito will be out there. St. Louis can also look at the trade market. They know they have an outfield logjam and could clear it up a bit by trading for some pitching.

Mo also stated that the Cardinals understand they have to do things differently. The pitching staff this year is largely a pitch-to-contact staff. That has worked for the Cardinals over the past several years, but it isn’t anymore.

The front office has acknowledged that swing-and-miss pitching is what the Cardinals need and will be specifically targeting this coming winter. All of the pitchers listed above are solid swing-and-miss guys.

The Cardinals aren’t usually in on big-name free agent pitchers, and with Mo and the front office acknowledging they need to do something different, this could mean that they’re finally going to get out of their comfort zone.

Argument 2: Mo will blow it

I think it’s fair to assume that Mo and the front office will finally approach an offseason differently in terms of pitching. We know they’re going to target pitching at least.

However I, like the rest of the fanbase, am skeptical about things. Will Mo do it right?

It’s certainly fair for fans to not trust Mo on this. Last year, he said payroll was going to be increasing. The payroll hardly increased.

They also rarely are in on top-end starters in free agency. The same can be said for trades. The last few times the Cardinals have signed free agent pitchers, it has not gone well. See Mike Leake, Brett Cecil, Andrew Miller, and Steven Matz.

Sometimes, it’s not that they don’t spend money, it’s just that they spend too much on the wrong pitchers. They may end up signing Eduardo Rodriguez and calling him the ace.

I don’t think you can afford to do that if you’re the Cardinals. You need somebody that’s going to give you a chance to compete for a World Series title, and while Rodriguez would be a good addition to the rotation, he’s not a frontline guy on a good team, which the Cardinals currently are not.

But they’ve been hesitant to go after big-name starters. Mo has never signed an ace in free agency. Also, in terms of trades, the Cardinals are very gun shy about trading their outfielders out of fear them turning into the next Randy Arozarena or Adolis Garcia.

They keep putting too much stock in their internal options at each position, many of whom are blocked and won’t get their fair shot with the team. Dylan Carlson, Juan Yepez, Alec Burleson, and even Tyler O’Neill are pieces that they’ve held onto for a little too long.

Who’s to say they won’t repeat these mistakes? Mo has given the fans absolutely no reason to trust that he’ll do this right. Sure, he may ultimately get what the team really needs, but until that happens, fans have every right to be skeptical.