10 bold predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2024

As we turn the page on 2023, I made 10 bold predictions for the Cardinals organization in 2024.
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Prediction #4 - The Cardinals swing a trade for a top-end starter

My 2023 bold predictions had the Cardinals swinging a trade for a top-end starter, but with how the season unraveled, the opportunity just was not there and instead, they wisely added multiple top prospects like Thomas Saggese and Tekoah Roby instead.

The Cardinals are going to come up on three different opportunities this year to add a top starter via trade, and I believe they'll finally pull the trigger at one of these crossroad moments.

The first is obviously before Spring Training. I recently put together six trade ideas for the Cardinals based on how the offseason has gone so far, and I think there are a variety of starters they could get their hands on in the near future. The top three options to me right now would be Dylan Cease, Jesus Luzardo, or Framber Valdez, but there are also other options they could pursue.

If the Cardinals do not swing a deal before Spring Training, they'll be in prime position to make a move at the Trade Deadline. By that point, the Cardinals should have a good idea of what their starting lineup looks like. With the rise of Victor Scott II, one of Dylan Carlson or Tommy Edman could be available. Perhaps they'll be more comfortable moving one of Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, or Thomas Saggese. They have multiple pitching prospects like Tink Hence, Tekoah Roby, Cooper Hjerpe, and Gordon Graceffo who could be available.

Assuming the Cardinals are in position to make the playoffs, grabbing a top starter would make so much sense and make them a team capable of pulling off an upset in a short series with the National League powerhouses. The Cardinals have the pieces to pull it off, and it's trending like there'll be starters available this coming July.

It's so hard to know how things will shape up by July, but if there just aren't top-end starters available or the Cardinals go a different direction, it will be so obvious that a trade needs to happen by the time next offseason begins. We all can see that they need another top starter, but by the time next offseason comes around, if they haven't made that trade yet, they'll have so many assets without clear roles in St. Louis, that it would be malpractice to not package them for a starter.

Let's say Scott says the center field job, Winn is entrenched at shortstop, and Saggese is ready for a regular role. Let's list out all of the players needing regular playing time:

Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Willson Contreras, Jordan Walker, Lars Nootbaar, Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, Masyn Winn, Victor Scott II, Ivan Herrera, Thomas Saggese, Tommy Edman, Dylan Carlson, and Alec Burleson.

That's 14 players who should be playing every day, and there are only 13 roster spots to go around. This doesn't even include guys like Richie Palacios, Luken Baker, Cesar Prieto, and others who could be serviceable depth options on the Major League club. It's awesome that the Cardinals have so much talent on their big league roster, but with such a big need in the rotation, it wouldn't make sense to hold onto everyone.

Even if a few of those guys take steps back or become less valuable, I still think the Cardinals will be set up to make a splash, and they'll be able to do so without hurting the immediate future of their position player group. Tommy Edman feels like a very likely candidate to be moved to me, along with two of Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, Thomas Saggese, Alec Burleson, and Dylan Carlson.