8 steps the Cardinals should take to retool for 2025 if they fail again this year

The Cardinals have plenty of time to get into contention, but if things go south again, we may see them enter a true "retool" with young talent come July.
Arizona Diamondbacks v St. Louis Cardinals
Arizona Diamondbacks v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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Trade players on expiring contracts to reload the farm system

In 2023, the Cardinals traded away Jordan Montgomery, Jordan Hicks, Jack Flaherty, Chris Stratton, Paul DeJong, and Genesis Cabrera, most of whom were in the final year of their contracts.

In return for all of those guys? The Cardinals got two top 100 prospects in all of baseball in Thomas Saggese and Tekoah Roby, the best starter in all of Triple-A so far this season in Sem Robberse, reliever John King, and other prospects like Matt Svanson, Adam Kloffenstein, Sammy Hernandez, Zack Showalter, Drew Rom, and Cesar Prieto.

Goldschmidt, if his bat gets back to where we know it can be, could yield the Cardinals a return similar to what Montgomery brought back for them. But the Cardinals also have other names on expiring deals who could fetch them some interesting prospects.

Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson,, Giovanny Gallegos, and Keynan Middleton are all on one-year deals with very affordable team options for 2025. The Cardinals could hold onto any of those guys to fill out their roster next year, but they would likely want to capitalize on their trade value.

Lynn has been really good so far, posting a 2.81 ERA in his five starts. If he's able to maintain an ERA south of 3.80 by the deadline, he'll be someone that contenders would love to add to their rotation. Gibson's 4.35 ERA isn't flashy, but he would also get the Cardinals something in return as teams are always in need of starting pitching. Gallegos and Middleton carry more value than Chris Stratton and Genesis Cabrera did, so those two will always bring back value from a playoff team.

Andrew Kittredge, Brandon Crawford, and Matt Carpenter's contracts expire following the 2024 season, and while the latter two will not be coveted by other teams, Kittredge has been a shutdown reliever this year and would bring back a really nice piece for St. Louis.

Just with all of these names who are on one-year deals, the Cardinals will be able to add a lot of talent to their farm system, and perhaps even more than they did in 2023.

The next three slides though are where this conversation goes much further than it did in 2023. The Cardinals were clear about their intentions of punting on 2023 but getting right back into contention in 2024. If things go south this year, there'll be a lot more changes on the table, meaning there are some more names who the club could move for significant value.