The rotation will have major turnover after 2023
One of the underrated storylines entering the 2023 season is the fact that four of the five projected starters for St. Louis will be free agents after the season, with just Steven Matz being under contract long-term.
Adam Wainwright will be retiring at the end of the season, and not only has he become a club legend, but he has continued to provide the Cardinals with important innings over his final few seasons. Miles Mikolas bounced back big time in 2022, going 12-13 with a 3.29 ERA in 202.1 innings of work. Jordan Montgomery was a critical second-half addition, going 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA on the stretch for St. Louis. Jack Flaherty missed most of the 2022 season but will be looking to prove he still has ace-like stuff in his contract year.
The Cardinals may look to bring back one or two of these guys next off-season, but the likelihood is that they will need to fill three or four rotation spots come 2024. Matz is a quality middle of the rotation starter, but the club will need to find innings at both the top and backend of their rotation.
While the Cardinals could go ahead and add an option to their roster that will be there after 2023, the smarter play would be to ride out their options for this season, evaluate who to bring back, and which young arms could join the rotation. Ideally though, the Cardinals would revamp their rotation with one of the many top-end starters who will be free agents after 2023.