6 options the Cardinals could consider if they expand to a six-man rotation

Could the usage of a six-man rotation indicate the Cardinals aren't done adding pitching even as Spring Training starts?

Oakland Athletics v St. Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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As Cardinals' Spring Training begins, it looks like most of the position battles are already won. We know who the five starting pitchers will be, the lineup is mostly set aside from Masyn Winn at shortstop who needs to prove that he can hit at the Major League level, and the bullpen which has a few spots up in the air. However, as reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Cardinals might be considering a six-man rotation to open the 2024 season.

In the first 21 days of the season, the Cardinals will play 19 games with only 2 off days and will face some tough competition in the Dodgers, Padres, Marlins, Phillies, and Diamondbacks. Since the lack of innings was such an issue for the 2023 Cardinals, it makes sense to ease the new starting rotation into the season to avoid the risk of burnout or injury amongst the staff. Moreover, there are plenty of internal options that the Cardinals could use as the sixth man.

It's a risky play for a team that failed to pair another frontline starter with Sonny Gray this offseason, but a six-man rotation may be a wise decision for the long-term health of an aging group. I'm still hoping for St. Louis to add another of the available starters that still somehow haven't signed, but the hope of that dwindles by the day. A six-man rotation would've made more sense if the Cardinals had landed one of the Japanese starting pitchers as six-man rotations are commonplace in NPB, but that ship has sailed.

Here are six options the Cardinals should consider for their final rotation spot.