The trade deadline has officially passed. The Cardinals loaded up on pitching prospects to strengthen the farm system but were unable to add a controllable starting pitcher, which is something I was hoping they would do.
Instead, the work to overhaul the starting rotation is going to have to come in the offseason. The Cardinals will need to make trades and dive into the free-agent market. And for once, they'll need to pony up, which means getting rid of some key prospects and spending more money than they have in years past.
The best-starting pitchers will be on the free-agent market. Pitchers such as Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, and Eduardo Rodriguez will be available. Those are the higher-end arms the Cardinals are going to have to target. They also can look into lower-cost options as well.
For now, the Cardinals will have to ride out the rest of the season with Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, and Matthew Liberatore. It's already a forgone conclusion at this point that the team's 15-year streak of winning seasons will be snapped and that they will miss the postseason for the first time since 2018.
But the Cardinals made it clear at the trade deadline that major changes were needed. If anything, this season should serve as a cautionary tale as to why it's so important to add starting pitching depth, and we can only hope that the front office has learned from this experience.
We will discuss three pitchers that the Cardinals should target when the offseason begins. We'll look at ace-level pitchers, and also discuss lower-cost options.