St Louis Cardinals: Quick hits on four starters to help the rotation

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 11: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) John Means #47 of the Baltimore Orioles in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 11, 2021 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Orioles 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 11: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) John Means #47 of the Baltimore Orioles in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 11, 2021 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Orioles 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The St Louis Cardinals need help in their starting rotation. Who are four trade options to target in order to take some innings?

The injury to Jack Flaherty severely impacts the St Louis Cardinals and going about replacing him, at least internally, is going to be borderline impossible.

We listed the internal options in a previous story. But if the Cardinals want to have a capable replacement, and build a dominant rotation in a season in what they hope ends in a World Series appearance, they should explore the trade market — and there figures to be no shortage of options.

Max Scherzer is the consensus top name who might be traded by a 22-29 Washington Nationals team. He grew up in the St. Louis area and would likely welcome coming to the city. But he is a free agent at the end of this season and with a high salary in 2021, could be out of the price range for a Cardinals team that already stretched the budget to acquire Nolan Arenado. Even then, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has never shown a willingness to sell, so there are no guarantees that Scherzer becomes available.

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Cheaper options could include Colorado Rockies pitchers Jon Gray and German Marquez. Of the two, Gray figures to be the most likely to go — and there are rumblings that he could be among the first players traded this season. But he may cost more to acquire than Scherzer, which could cause president of baseball operations John Mozeliak to hesitate considering his previous unwillingness to part with his top prospects.

Another option, of course, is Baltimore Orioles starter John Means, who has already thrown a no-hitter this season. But the team has previously shown no willingness to trade Means and with him looking like a long-term option in the rotation, it’s unlikely they back down from that stance.

Next. Jack Flaherty’s injury is “significant”. dark

There will be plenty of other options available, of course, and they will become more clear as the July 30 trade deadline gets closer. But the Cardinals will have to explore outside options to keep their rotation afloat. The state of the team, and perhaps their season, could end up depending on it.

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