6 impact starting pitchers the Cardinals could trade for at an affordable price

The St. Louis Cardinals are going to upgrade their rotation before the Trade Deadline, but it may not be wise to break the bank while doing so.
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages
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Nick Pivetta, Red Sox

Here's my current "favorite" target for the Cardinals at this deadline, but his availability will depend a lot upon the Red Sox's placement in the standings come the end of July.

Nick Pivetta is a really interesting starting pitcher who hits free agency following this season. So far in 2024, Pivetta has posted a 3.88 ERA in nine starts for the Red Sox and has done so while posting a 29.6% strikeout rate as well. Pivetta leans heavily on his fastball/sweeper combo to get the job done against opposing hitters, but he mixes in a cutter as well against lefties and also throws a curveball and slider.

In my opinion, Pivetta would instantly be your second most talented starter on your staff from a stuff perspective, and while he would not be a true number two starter, he could play up to that for St. Louis if things go well. Gray, Pivetta, Gibson, Mikolas, and Lynn is not a fearsome group, but it is one that can propel the Cardinals to October and hold their own when they get there.

One of the really interesting things about Pivetta is his flexibility between starting and relieving. If the Cardinals were to acquire him, it would be to start for them, but they'd also know if things somehow went poorly, he has proven to be very impactful in the bullpen. If the Cardinals made the postseason, they could decide in October whether or not to have Pivetta in their rotation or as a weapon in the bullpen, perhaps as a hybrid high-leverage arm and someone who can piggyback a starter if necessary.

I also find this to be an interesting link for St. Louis considering the Chaim Bloom connections here. Bloom acquired Pivetta while he was in charge of baseball operations for Boston, so a reunion would feel on brand considering all of the arms (Andrew Kittredge, Ryan Fernandez, Riley O'Brien, and Nick Robertson) that the Cardinals acquired this offseason with Bloom connections.

The Cardinals did make a trade with the Red Sox this offseason when they sent outfielder Tyler O'Neill to Boston, so there is clearly a working relationship there that could blossom into another deal if the Red Sox sell a piece like Pivetta.