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A trade for Dylan Cease is looking incredibly unlikely for the Cardinals. Where can they turn?

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Last week, I wrote a post explaining the possibility of a Dylan Cease trade for the Cardinals.

In that post, I made clear that I wanted the Cardinals to do it, but that I didn’t think it was likely. A week later, it’s looking even less likely.

Sadly, I’m afraid the Cardinals are done adding starting pitching. They shouldn’t be, but John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt are making the same mistake they always do, trusting the internal options and not flexing the payroll muscle.

Mozeliak has consistently stated that he’s open to more additions, but I feel like he might be saying that just to save face. But if he’s telling the truth, the Cardinals need to act.

But with Cease unlikely, where can the Cardinals turn? We’ll discuss two options below.

1. Jesus Luzardo

The Marlins have made clear that they are listening to offers on Jesus Luzardo. He enjoyed a solid 2023 campaign, going 10-10 in 32 starts with a 3.58 ERA. He also struck out 208 batters over 178.2 innings of work.

The Cardinals were looking for innings coverage, and Luzardo provides it. He also is a strikeout machine. He’ll cost significantly less than Cease and has three years of control.

With Gray already in tow as the ace, Luzardo would be a perfect No. 2 starter.

I think if the Cardinals do decide to add another starter, Luzardo is the most likely option.

2. Jordan Montgomery

This is probably the least likely option. Montgomery’s free agency has dragged out for some time, and as a client of Scott Boras, he might be out of the Cardinals price range, putting a damper on any hopes of a reunion.

It’s also worth remembering that DeWitt is rarely willing to spend massive amounts of money.

Still, if it drags on long enough, the price will go down and could potentially fall in the Cardinals preferred price range. We haven’t heard anything about a potential reunion with Montgomery. All we’ve heard is that it’s most likely he returns to the Rangers.

But instead of trusting Steven Matz and banking on bounce back years from Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson, it would be smart to dive back into free agency.

I think this would be the smartest move. But given the Cardinals track record, that also means it’s the least likely route.