I really like Jake Woodford but it has been a rough start for him in 2023. Woodford earned a spot in the Cardinal rotation after Adam Wainwright landed on the injured list and it was well deserved. Unfortunately becoming a full-time starter though it has turned into a step back so far one month in. We have seen Woodford drop his era by over a run in each of his 3 first seasons and a guy that is trending in the right direction going into this season, but he has an era over 5 so far this season.
Woodfords last 2 starts against Arizona and San Francisco have been slightly better, giving up 6 earned runs in 10.1 innings and only walking 1 batter in each start, but the ERA is still elevated like a lot of Cardinal pitchers. But he has not been the Cardinals' worst starter by any stretch, Miles Mikolas has really struggled since getting the Opening Day nod, and Steven Matz has been horrible. Rumblings have ensued with the rotation troubles about what could be done, including skipping Matz's spot in the rotation for when Wainwright is available to return, which was seen on Twitter from John Denton.
There is plenty of options, whether they will work or not is the question. The problem Woodford has is with Mikolas and Matz's contracts they're not going anywhere. Wainwright should return fairly soon and despite his struggles in his rehab starts, he is determined to prove everyone wrong so he could provide a spark to the rotation. Also pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore has had a strong start to his season in AAA Memphis which could lead to a promotion soon.
We could see Woodford or Matz move to the bullpen but I think if Wainwright joins the rotation in the coming weeks, it could be best to have Woodford start games in the minor leagues. The Cardinals obviously have had a problem the past few seasons with getting consistent starting pitching, and part of that is the Cards are guilty of turning too many pitching prospects into relievers. They need to start developing guys to be starting pitchers for the long haul.