If I had to pick a "favorite" pitcher for the Cardinals to pursue, it would easily be Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Yamamoto is currently pitching for the Orix Buffaloes over in Japan and has a 1.60 ERA in 39.1 innings of work. Yamamoto does not turn 25 until August but has already thrown 836 professional innings in Japan, carrying an insane 1.83 career ERA.
Yamamoto may be posted this offseason and many scouts see him as a number one starter on day one. Yamamoto may get upwards of a $200 million deal though, on top of his posting fee. So why on earth would the Cardinals do that?
First, consider his youth. At 25 years old, a $200+ million dollar deal is not nearly as risky as giving one to a guy in his late 20s or early 30s. Signing Yamamoto over other older starters or trading for an ace allows the Cardinals to spend big money on an ace for the long term, but not have to give up any prospect or young bats in the process. That would be a really easy way to help transform the rotation for the future very quickly.
I highly recommend checking out some of Yamamoto's highlights here. He's going to be a star in 2024. The Cardinals should have plenty of money to spend this offseason if they really want him.