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3 ways the Cardinals can fix their rotation this winter

Colorado Rockies v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images

I’m in the camp that believes the Cardinals should’ve tried a little bit harder to add a controllable starter at the deadline. Not that it would’ve saved the season, but it would have alleviated some of the work John Mozeliak had to do this winter.

Now, the Cardinals have to fill three rotation spots in the offseason. It’s going to take more money and more pieces, depending on whether the improvements come via trade or free agency. Perhaps they explore both markets.

In this piece, we will explore three ways the Cardinals can go about putting together their 2024 rotation and who could possibly fill some of those roles. The only starters under contract for next season are Steven Matz and Miles Mikolas.

Trade for/sign an ace

At least one of the acquisitions the Cardinals make this offseason needs to be for a true ace-level pitcher. We knew heading into the season that the Cardinals did not have a true ace, even if they wanted to believe they did.

Fast forward a few months, and both Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery are gone. When it comes to both trades and free agency, the Cardinals have been unwilling to pay the necessary price. If you want to make an impact trade, you’re going to have to part with some key pieces. If you want to sign a marquee player, you’re going to have to pay the money.

It’s time the Cardinals got a little bit bolder. They could potentially look into Shane Bieber or Dylan Cease if they want to explore the trade market. On the other hand, pitchers such as Aaron Nola and Blake Snell are available in free agency. If the Cardinals want to find their ace via free agency, it’s going to have to be either Snell or Nola.

Make a trade with the Yankees

We know the Yankees were very interested in Dylan Carlson. I think it’s obvious at this point that he isn’t going to have enough opportunities to reach his full potential with the Cardinals.

New York could use some outfielders, and they also have some controllable starters as well. Zack Rymer of Bleacher Report proposed that in order for the Yankees to fix their outfield, they could look to the Cardinals for some help.

He proposed that the Yankees send Nestor Cortes to St. Louis in exchange for Dylan Carlson and Ivan Herrera. I think that’s a reasonable deal, though it might take a few more pieces to land “Nasty Nestor.” Either way, it’s something the Cardinals should look into, and they need to be willing to part with some key pieces in order to get it done.

Look into lower-cost options

I’m sure fans don’t want to hear this, and it’s understandable as to why. The Cardinals have overpaid in recent years for lower-cost pitchers such as Mike Leake and Steven Matz, but I’m not suggesting that this should be the only way they try to fix their rotation. They still need an ace that gives them a chance to win in the postseason.

But pitchers such as James Paxton and Michael Lorenzen have had good seasons, and if signed, the Cardinals could certainly pencil them into the 2024 rotation. It might also be worth trying to reunite with Jordan Montgomery.