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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Facilitate a Nolan Arenado trade at the deadline or in the offseason

Brenden Schaeffer and I talked at length about a potential Nolan Arenado trade on the podcast, and while I played a bit of "devil's advocate" to see if there's a scenario where Arenado could stay with the Cardinals in this retool, but we both agreed that both the Cardinals and Arenado would likely see this as the best path forward.

First off, Arenado is not going to want to waste more years of his career on a team that is not making a significant playoff push. Arenado came over from Colorado looking to win, and although they've made the playoffs a few times since he's come to St. Louis, he's going to want to finish his career on a team that is in the World Series hunt.

It would seem likely that if the Cardinals were to trade Arenado, all roads would like to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the only other team we know that Arenado has had an interest in playing for in his career. Arenado is from California, and the Dodgers have been interested in acquiring him for a long time, so it's easy to see how a deal would get done.

Second, if the Cardinals are retooling, they'll want to create as many opportunities as possible for their young talent in St. Louis, and freeing up the third base position for someone like Nolan Gorman to take over could do that. Top 100 prospect Thomas Saggese will be with the club by season's end and in need of a position, and they are already struggling to get at-bats for young guys on the roster. There may even be some prospects they get back in other trades who they'll want to feature in their lineup.

Third, ownership would probably want to slash payroll as much as possible if the club is not winning games, and cutting the three-years, $74 million remaining on Arenado's deal after 2024 would be a great way to do that.

The biggest question for me is not whether or not Arenado would be traded, but rather, when would Arenado be traded? There may be a clean deal for the Cardinals to make with the Dodgers or another contender that Arenado approves at the trade deadline, but the front office may want to wait until the offseason to make such a deal.

Why's that? Well, it may be a tough sell for the future of this Cardinals organization for John Mozeliak to pull the trigger on a move of that magnitude. Sure, maybe ownership would want Mozeliak to "wear" the fans' frustration and pull the bandaid off, but the Cardinals also may prefer to bring in new leadership first and allow them to facilitate that deal.

Speaking of new leadership, let's talk about maybe the most important move the Cardinals will need to make in this retool, and that's John Mozeliak's successor.