6 paths the Cardinals can take with newly reported financial flexibility

The Cardinals have more money to spend then we thought, as they've backloaded the contract of newly acquired Sonny Gray. What moves can they make now?

Aug 3, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches
Aug 3, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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Go heavy with bullpen acquisitions

One path the Cardinals could go down is to acquire significantly better relievers than any of us really thought they could just a few days ago.

St. Louis has made it clear they are going after bullpen additions, but the level to which they could do this seemed a bit muted. If I were betting on Monday what those moves could look like, it may have included one free agent, but not on a big deal, and then likely an arm via trade using their outfield depth.

The Cardinals now have the flexibility to add two significant bullpen pieces in the coming weeks and months. Maybe a reunion with Jordan Hicks will happen. The two sides were trying to iron out a contract extension before the trade deadline. Yuki Matsui has been linked to the Cardinals, a left-handed closer coming over from Japan. Phil Maton has been linked to St. Louis as well and would provide them with a high-leverage arm as well.

The Cardinals could realistically grab multiple of those names or any other free-agent reliever not named Josh Hader. They still have the ability to add bullpen arms through the trade market as well in this scenario, but they could also use that outfield depth to acquire a cost-controlled starter, such as Alek Manoah if they decide to spend significant dollars on the bullpen.

While this very well could be the path they go down, I still think they do at most one "significant" bullpen, and mostly favor acquiring cost-controlled relievers in trades or signing lower-cost relievers like a Shelby Miller instead. The rest of the scenarios is how they can truly be aggressive, and it's the paths I'm feeling optimistic they'll walk.