The Cardinals need to target high-end pitching at the deadline or in the offseason
You couldn't look at the St. Louis Cardinals before the season and feel great about their starting rotatoin. I personally thought it would be "good enough" to get them to the trade deadline, when significant additions could be added, but I by no means thought their rotation was a finished product.
I don't think anyone could have predicted how bad of a rotation it would be this year. Even if you hated the rotation going into the season, did you really think they'd be posting a 5.40 ERA to this point in the season? I doubt it.
To be honest, there weren't a lot of options this last offseason to improve the rotation early this season. Pretty much all of the top options that were available are either hurt or have been bad this year. But the years of mishandling their pitching internally and not signing or trading for the right guys had set them up for this failure.
The Cardinals have dug themselves quite a hole this year to climb out of. It's not impossible, especially with how much the rest of the National League Central has struggled in recent weeks, but it will not be easy. Honestly, it's probably not even possible without significant pitching upgrades.
I want to take a look at six pitchers the Cardinals should be targeting at this trade deadline and during free agency this offseason. While the Cardinals may have whiffed the last few offseasons and deadlines on adding top-end starting pitching, there are too many potential options available this time to make that same mistake again.