The Cardinals are lacking a top-end starter in their rotation and could look to these five names to fill in this offseason.
The St. Louis Cardinals made two trades at the deadline to acquire starting pitching in the forms of Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery. Both moves proved to be excellent for St. Louis, as they desperately needed starters who could give them quality innings. This offseason, the Cardinals need to have their eyes set on higher level starters.
Quintana and Montgomery are great, but there is a tier of starters that are simply above them that the Cardinals need in their rotation. St. Louis has a lot of 3 or 4 level starters, but lack that true number one to lead their staff.
Free agency has a few aces on the market who will be available if the Cardinals want to spend big. The other option for St. Louis would be to look to the trade market and see what front-line pitching they could acquire.
Here are five ace level pitchers that the Cardinals could trade for this offseason.
The Cardinals have been linked to Shane Bieber for a few years now, and ESPN’s Jeff Passan had confirmed that Bieber “could be had” at the trade deadline despite another great year and the Guardians competing for the playoffs.
Bieber rose to national prominence in 2020 after he went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA on his way to winning the AL Cy Young award in the pandemic shortened season. He followed that up with a good, but not great 2021 where he went 7-4 with a 3.17 ERA in 96.2 innings while battling injuries. Bieber did regain form in 2022 with a 2.88 ERA in 200 innings of work, but there are concerns.
Bieber has seen his fastball velocity dip by 4 MPH down to 90 MPH this season, and some of his other Statcast metrics raise flags for talent evaluators. Passan mentioned it would take an “exorbitant” asking price to get Bieber, which makes a move for him even riskier, considering the long-term concerns.
Still, Bieber was excellent in 2022, and has two years remain of club control should make him an attractive target for St. Louis, especially if they believe his underlying numbers will not impact future performance or could be turned around.