After a mostly quiet offseason and hot start to the 2022 season, the St. Louis Cardinals have one glaring need above the rest, and this player will fill it.
The St. Louis Cardinals are 4-2 early in the season and already have the look of a club that has aspirations for a deep playoff run in 2022. After making only minor to mid-level caliber moves in the offseason, the club’s patience with making a major move has rubbed many fans and experts looking at the Cardinals’ needs the wrong way.
Many front offices like to leave themselves with flexibility to make moves mid season as they see how the offseason’s roster construction pan out. Injuries, unexpected performances (both good and bad), as well as the success of the clubs around them can cause priorities for a club to change, so April-June tends to be a good litmus test for these moves.
For the St. Louis Cardinals, many have pointed to a variety of “holes” on the club that need filled. Shortstop was a hot button issue all offseason long, as well as the addition of a big left handed bat, most likely at the DH position. Others have brought up the lack of depth in the bullpen and the need to acquire a few high leverage arms. Still, one need seems to have risen above the surface the most, and remains the clear hole that needs filled for the club to truly be a World Series contender: starting pitching.
With injuries to Jack Flaherty and Alex Reyes before the season even began weakening an already thin staff, the Cardinals currently rank 10th in the National League in starter’s ERA with a 5.53 across the first six games – and that includes both Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas’ incredible starts (as well as both of their abysmal ones). The rotation is tied for last in the NL with the Diamondbacks in innings pitched with 27.2, and have the 12th best opponents batting average at .310.
Obviously, this is a small sample size, but reflects a greater issue with the club going into the season. Adam Wainwright and Jack Flaherty should be able to be relied upon for quality starts each time out, but health should remain a concern for each of them given Wainwright’s age and Flaherty’s inability to stay on the field over the last few seasons. For guys like Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, and Jordan Hicks, each are a mixed bag of consistency and durability concerns, meaning the club is really crossing their fingers with most members of the rotation.
Currently, there is one name of the trade market that would be a perfect fit for the Redbirds, and the next few slides will breakdown why the Cardinals should acquire this player, as well as what it will probably take to get him.