Cardinals: 5 early offseason trade and free agent targets

Tyler O'Neill (27) is congratulated by second baseman Tommy Edman (19) and designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) after a walk-off hit by pitch with the bases loaded against the Colorado Rockies during the ninth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler O'Neill (27) is congratulated by second baseman Tommy Edman (19) and designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) after a walk-off hit by pitch with the bases loaded against the Colorado Rockies during the ninth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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It is never too early to begin looking at some potential offseason moves, and there are clear trade and free agent candidates arising for the Cardinals.

The St. Louis Cardinals are fresh off one of the best trade deadlines in recent memory, but the ghosts of the 2022 offseason still haunt the club in some respect. Steven Matz, their big signing of the offseason, has dealt with injuries most of the year. The T.J. McFarland extension and signings like Drew VerHagen were complete misses. The injuries to Matz are not the clubs fault and the McFarland and VerHagen signings were low risk, yet they all leave sour tastes in fans mouths.

Corey Dickerson has come on as of late for the club, truly being that fourth outfielder and left handed DH option that the Cardinals were looking for. But by far the best signing of the offseason was the one that arguably could have gone the worst – Albert Pujols. Any time you bring a player in for their “last hoorah”, there is a big risk of the reunion falling flat and being an awkward send off. Yet, Pujols looks more like his prime self (versus left handed pitching) than a player in his final year.

As the club thinks ahead to the 2023 offseason, some clear needs are already beginning to arise. The catcher position will surely be looked at in light of Yadier Molina’s retirement at the end of this season. You can never have enough starting pitching, and the uncertainty around  Adam Wainwright’s return may create a need in the rotation. Other targets could be the shortstop position, a left handed platoon option against right handed pitching, or bullpen help.

Here are five offseason targets, via trade or free agency, that the Cardinals could pursue this offseason.

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