Signing Aroldis Chapman last offseason could have paid off big for the Cardinals
Aroldis Chapman is an understandably polarizing figure in baseball. His fastball is still electric after all these years and he has produced out of the bullpen nearly every season he has been in the league. Unfortunately, he also comes with his fair share of off the field baggage including a domestic violence suspension back in 2015 and an acrimonious departure from the Yankees after he missed a mandatory workout during the postseason.
Chapman would end up signing a one year deal with the Royals last offseason and that deal looks like a heist right now as he has been one of the better relievers in the American League this year. Even if the 2023 season played out exactly the same for the Cardinals as it has so far, having Chapman on the roster as a trade piece that isn't owed a ton of money would have paid huge dividends for them at the deadline. There is also the chance that having Chapman would have allowed the Cardinals to not keep some of these underperforming starters in games quite as long and seen a few close games go their way as a result.
The St Louis Cardinals have to be glad they didn't pay Carlos Rodon
On the plus side, it sure does look like St. Louis made the right choice in not pushing to sign Carlos Rodon. The Cardinals were connected to Rodon at times last offseason which made sense as he was one of the top rotation arms available. However, Rodon ended up deciding on signing a six year deal with the Yankees.
The question with Rodon even going into the offseason was whether or not he would be able to continue to hold up over a long baseball season. The Giants were very careful to manage Rodon's innings during his time there and while the results were tremendous, he did always seem to be a guy that carried with him some injury risk.
As it turns out, that is exactly what has happened. Rodon went down with a strained forearm in spring training and issues with his back. All of that has combined to mean that he has yet to even pitch for the Yankees this year. Sure, he could end up being a fine pitcher with no injury issues the rest of the way. However, with his track record, it is probably a smarter bet that he is going to miss more time over that six year deal of his.