The Cardinals overpaying for a starting pitcher at the deadline is ill-advised
This harkens back to the first section, but warrants specific examination due to the state of the starting pitching trade market. We know that the Cardinals need starting pitching. However, a lot of actual contenders also need starting pitching this season and there are just not a lot of rotation arms to go around this year...or at least not a lot of arms anyone should want if winning more baseball games is the goal.
A bidding war for starting pitchers this year is inevitable as a result and the Cardinals don't have the depth in their farm system to be doing that especially given how the season has gone. It is already strategically dicey to make a move as a buyer in a seller's market. It is even worse to pay that sort of premium when the Cardinals are basically already out of it. Mortgaging your future for a shot at a .500 record by betting on questionable starting pitchers is just not the play.
Trading away Masyn Winn or Michael McGreevy would be nightmare fuel for the Cardinals
Speaking of the Cardinals farm system, we need to talk about a couple of guys that the Cardinals need to avoid trading at the deadline this year. Masyn Winn has a tantalizing toolset at shortstop and Michael McGreevy appears to be on the fast track to the big leagues. Both are guys who have a ton of value and upside, but that is precisely why trading them now would be a mistake.
There is a strong argument that trading either of those guys period is ill-advised, but that isn't the argument here. At the end of the day, they are still just prospects and all prospects should be able to be had for the right price. However, using two guys who are at Triple-A and close to being ready for the big leagues for trades to upgrade during a lost season wastes their value. If you retool the roster next year and find yourself in actual contention, sure...it may be worth dealing them next year if need be. For now, though, if you really want to make a move for a guy that helps you in 2024 and beyond, try to use the guys further away from the majors to do that.
Doing nothing at the trade deadline would be the worst possible outcome for the Cardinals
When asked recently about the Cardinals trade deadline plans, St. Louis' president of baseball operations very bluntly said that a complete tear down of the Cardinals roster was not an option. We can understand that point of view, but it brings us to what could be the most important thing that the Cardinals need to avoid doing and that is standing pat at the trade deadline.
There are some teams where a wait-and-see approach makes some level of sense, but the Cardinals have real short-term and long-term problems with their roster. As it stands, they are not well suited to turn things around and compete in the present nor are they in a spot as an organization where they are oozing with minor league talent that points to a bright future. Maybe a complete rebuild doesn't make sense for the Cardinals, but they are going to have to make some moves and hard choices one way or the other. If they don't, they could be in rough shape for a long time.