John Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals have promised an offseason where they will make improvements to get the team back to their winning ways after the organization's worst season in decades. The Cardinals were 71-91, occupying last place in the NL Central for much of 2023.
Mozeliak has said the priority this season will be "pitching, pitching, pitching," emphasizing this with assurances the team would look to get at least three pitchers via trade or free agency. The team has Miles Mikolas and Stephen Matz returning in the Spring. They could be joined by Matthew Liberatore, Dakota Hudson, and Drew Rom.
The organization has several arms that could debut in 2024 with Tekoah Roby, Gordon Graceffo, Mike McGreevy, Adam Kloffenstein, and Cooper Hjerpe. These players could be extended relief options if necessary, but Mozeliak did note the rotation would not necessarily be the standard five-man group.
The club still has other needs, including the bullpen, and a veteran outfielder with a power bat being helpful for the team that hopes to be back in contention in 2024 and beyond.
While there are a handful of free agent pitchers the Cardinals are already linked with, such as Sonny Gray, Blake Snell, and Aaron Nola, there are some free agent pitchers the Cardinals need to avoid at all costs if they hope to return to their championship form in 2024.
Let's discuss who those players the Cardinals should avoid.
Lance Lynn is a player the Cardinals must avoid at all costs during free agency
Lynn was drafted by the Cardinals in 2008. After six seasons with the Cardinals, the Cardinals declined to bring him back, leaving him to move on. Most recently, he's been with the Chicago White Sox and was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline.
Lynn seems like an ideal find on the free agent market. He can go multiple innings, and he throws strikes. As Cardinals fans can remember, Lynn likes to do his own thing. And if you know the Cardinals, that's no longer the Cardinals' way.
Lynn doesn't rely primarily on the fastball anymore. Lynn does have a repertoire of seven pitches now including the fastball, a cutter, a sinker, a curveball, change-up. a slider and a sweeper. He does have a 28.7 percent whiff rate.
But Lynn gave up eight home runs in his last five starts with the Dodgers. This includes four he gave up in one inning to the Diamondbacks in his NLDS start. By the time things got important, Lynn appeared gassed and unable to do what made him a find, which was throwing strikes.
The Cardinals have had this and no longer want that type of pitcher going forward.