We wish they would have traded for Zack Wheeler
Wheeler most recently reminded Cardinals fans of his greatness in the 2022 playoffs as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Before joining Philadelphia, Wheeler spent significant time with the Mets. His time there ended after the 2019 season, and he signed a five-year $118MM contract with the Phillies that off-season. At the 2019 trade deadline, Wheeler was supposedly up for grabs, as the Mets had fallen out of contention and wanted to get something back for the impending free agent. Reports note that the Cardinals and Mets had serious discussions, with the Mets asking for Harrison Bader in return.
Unfortunately, the two clubs were unable to get a deal done, as the Cardinals valued Bader, and were unwilling to trade him for a rental who may depart in just two months. After acquiring Wheeler, it would have been critical to extend him, perhaps with a contract resembling the one Philadelphia handed him. As a Phillie, Wheeler has started 96 games, pitching over 600 innings with a 3.04 ERA. He has been one of the best pitchers in the National League, while also remaining healthy. Wheeler could have been a long-term option for the Cardinals, and his presence would certainly have helped them in 2023.