4 reasons why 2023 may be exactly what the Cardinals needed to change their ways

No matter how you feel about the Cardinals' leadership, it's clear they needed something drastic to happen to shake up their ways. The 2023 season was exactly that and so much more.
Aug 1, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John
Aug 1, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Being forced to sell at the trade deadline accelerated the rebuild of their farm system

If the Cardinals were in a position to convince themselves that they had a shot to make the playoffs at this year's deadline, they not only would have avoided selling off the pieces that they did, but they also would have likely parted with prospect capital in hopes of sneaking their way into October. Luckily, that was not an option by the time the deadline came around.

Selling is frustrating. Not only did they lose very productive players like Jordan Montgomery and Jordan Hicks, but they also effectively waived the white flag on the rest of the season. This team was going to be rough in the second half without these impact players.

But more importantly, selling at this deadline allowed the Cardinals to strengthen their farm system in a big way, something they rarely find themselves in a position to do.

From the Rangers, they were able to acquire RHP Tekoah Roby, who very well could be a future top-of-the-rotation talent for St. Louis. Along with Roby, they acquired INF Thomas Saggase, who has done nothing but mash since being acquired and is now at the Triple-A level, likely positioning himself for a role on the 2024 squad at some point. LHP John King has been a quality addition as well to a very thing bullpen.

From the Blue Jays, the Cardinals acquired Adam Kloffenstein, Sem Robberse, Matt Svanson, and Sammy Hernandez in three separate deals involving Jordan Hicks, Paul DeJong, and Genesis Cabrera. Each of these names has the opportunity to become a contributor for St. Louis at some point and help build much-needed prospect depth.

Lastly, the Jack Flaherty trade brought in Drew Rom, Cesar Prieto, and Zack Showalter from the Baltimore Orioles. Rom has already received the opportunity to make big league starts, Cesar Prieto will be Major League ready in the near future, and Showalter is far away from the Majors but may have one of the highest ceilings among Cardinals' pitching prospects if all goes well.

Many people advocated for the Cardinals to extend Jordan Montgomery rather than trading him, which would have cost them a pretty penny and caused them to miss out on two of their most exciting prospects. I think it's safe to say the Cardinals made the right move there, and they now have the opportunity to bring back Montgomery in free agency if they desire.

Hicks had come on strong toward the end of his Cardinals' tenure, but he, Flaherty, DeJong, Stratton, and Cabrera were all expendable pieces beyond 2023, so maximizing their value was the wise move.

If the Cardinals are going to turn things around in 2024 and beyond, they need their farm system to keep producing talent, whether that is for their own big league roster or to be used in trades this offseason. The Cardinals did an excellent job at the deadline which sets them up well this winter and beyond.