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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May 15, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (16) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
May 15, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (16) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

Carlos Rodon

Carlos Rodon, one of the players who had been linked to St. Louis both last offseason and at the deadline could end up being a great free agent pick-up. Rodon carries a lot of risk, but has proven to be an elite arm the last two seasons.

In 2021, across only 132.2 innings, Rodon went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA and 12.6 SO per 9 innings, finishing 5th in the AL Cy Young award voting for the Chicago White Sox. Due to his injury history though, Rondon was only able to secure a two-year deal with the San Francisco Giants, one he will surely opt out of barring injury.

Rondon has kept his form in 2022 while remaining healthy for the Giants, sitting with an 11-6 record and 2.89 ERA across 140.1 innings of work while maintaing a 11.5 SO per 9 innings. Rondon’s FIP suggests he is even better than that, carrying a 2.34 FIP for a team that struggles defensively.

If Rondon remains healthy, which has been a big if prior to his healthy 2022 season, his elite ability to create swings and misses as well as soft contact would not only play well in front of the Cardinals defense, but could allow him to matchup with almost anyone in baseball. Rondon, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Jordan Montgomery, and Steven Matz would be a dangerous rotation and puts St. Louis firmly in the mix for a World Series.

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