5 Cardinals' trade targets from teams falling out of contention

With the recent surge, the St. Louis Cardinals are vaulting themselves into playoff discussions while other teams are fading.
Washington Nationals v Chicago White Sox - Game Two
Washington Nationals v Chicago White Sox - Game Two / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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LHP Jesus Luzardo

Jesus Luzardo, for as much as he's struggled this year, would be the big fish should he be acquired. He has two and a half years of control left, he's a left-handed pitcher, he's still only 26, and he has a track record of success, especially last year. He threw 178.2 innings in 2023 with a 3.58 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 10.48 K/9, and he accumulated 3.7 fWAR.

After a rough start to 2024 thanks to an injury and poor performances, Luzardo has really turned it around recently. He has pitched two shutouts in the month of May, and his ERA has dropped precipitously since early April. These could be signs that he is returning to his old form.

Luzardo, similar to Fedde, would form a dynamic duo with Sonny Gray. The two are mildly different pitchers, as Luzardo has historically been a pitcher who has high strikeout numbers. Luzardo gives up hard hits often, but the bulk of them wind up being fly balls rather than line drives. His 4-seam fastball is his best pitch, and it averages 95.5 MPH on the radar gun.

The Marlins are very clearly sellers this year (maybe even their manager?). John Mozeliak could gut the fish, per se, and use the remaining parts in Miami to make his own roster that much better.

Landing Luzardo would be huge; he isn't a free agent until after the 2026 season, so he's in it for the long haul. A left-handed ace to pair with Sonny Gray, a righty, for the next two and a half years is tantalizing. The Cardinals have been stung in the past by trades with the Miami Marlins, and landing someone like Luzardo given his age and talent would require a haul of prospects. If the right deal comes about, John Mozeliak should jump on it.