St. Louis Cardinals: Four Ways to Cope with Loss of Jason Heyward

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Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (56) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3. Upgrade pitching

After losing 2015 rotation anchors John Lackey to the Cubs and Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery, St. Louis’s pitching staff all of a sudden becomes a larger priority to reevaluate. Will the Cardinals receive leadership from Adam Wainwright? Will the workload of Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha be limited again? Can this rotation compete with others in the division? All of these concerns could be addressed with a short-term pitching fix.

Zack Greinke is gone, David Price is gone and frankly enough most top-tier free agent starting pitcher has already signed a lucrative contract or looking elsewhere. Johnny Cueto remains an intriguing target if the Cardinals can move on from former tensions, but St. Louis could also sway under-the-radar talent such as Mike Leake, Yovani Gallardo or possibly even Mark Buehrle for a considerably smaller price. 

As co-editor Steven McNeil mentioned, a dark horse candidate that could probably bring more long term value than any of these players would be Kenta Maeda. Maeda, the free agent starting pitcher from Japan’s Hiroshima Carp, was just posted the other day. If the Cardinals are interested in the $20 Million posting fee to negotiate with the Japanese hurler, he could be a game changer for the Cardinals next season.