Can the Cardinals still address their pitching with trades?

The Cardinals have already fallen victim to the classic blunder of not having enough pitching. With free agency being an unlikely route at this point, could trades still be on the table?

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Once again, the Cardinals have fallen victim to one of the classic blunders.

That blunder in question is not having enough pitching depth. Sonny Gray suffered a hamstring injury and may begin the season on the injured list.

Fortunately, it doesn't appear to be a serious injury and he shouldn't be out for too long. But that doesn't mean the Cardinals get a pass here.

Even after signing three starting pitchers, the rotation was exceptionally weak, full of aging pitchers coming off bad seasons, with the exception of Gray of course.

I wrote a piece a while back about how Gray was one of, if not the most indispensable player on the Cardinals roster. The reason I said that is because of how uncertain the rest of the rotation is, and now with him out, the Cardinals have a hole to fill.

In typical fashion, John Mozeliak stated that he doesn't feel adding more pitching is necessary. I think we would all beg to differ on that one.

Mozeliak was speaking about the free agent market, where Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain three weeks into spring training. In the end, I'm not terribly surprised by this. Disappointed? Sure, but it was unlikely the Cardinals were going to target Montgomery or Snell.

Obviously, that's a mistake given the makeup of the rotation. But in terms of other additions, could there still be options?

Mozeliak was not asked about making trades, and there could still be ways the Cardinals can supplement the rotation without going into free agency. Let's explore some options.

Could Cards explore trades for pitching?

Obviously, it might be a little early to think about trades. The deadline isn't until August.

However, the offseason isn't technically over with Snell and Montgomery unsigned. So what could the Cardinals do?

Earlier this winter, they were linked to Dylan Cease. The White Sox are obviously not going to be in contention this year, so it might be worth checking with them on Cease to see if maybe their asking price has gone down a bit.

I don't see the Cardinals wanting to give up the prospect capital it would take for Cease, especially with the season approaching. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't at least check with the White Sox.

My hunch is that the Cardinals are waiting to see how Gray progresses. I don't agree with that approach of course, as facing the Dodgers without Gray is going to be daunting, and they'll need a frontline guy.

I do think a lot of it could depend on what happens with Snell and Montgomery. We know that four new teams have jumped into the mix. Could the Mariners be one of them?

We've talked on the site about a potential trade for Bryce Miller or Bryan Woo. It likely wouldn't take too much to get it done. They may not be aces, but they're young and have potential. They're also swing-and-miss guys with several years of control.

If the Mariners do sign one of Snell or Montgomery, Woo or Miller could become expendable. Then the Cardinals could jump on the opportunity to clear out positional logjams and add a starter to the mix that has potential and is right on the cusp.

As things stand right now, I would doubt that the Mariners want to trade either of them, but if they're in the mix for the remaining two starters on the market, that could change everything.

It might also be worth checking in with the Guardians about Shane Bieber or the Marlins about Jesus Luzardo. I know Bieber only has one year of control left, but the cost may have gone down because of that and the fact that he struggled last year.

If either of those scenarios becomes a possibility, the Cardinals would be getting someone proven who can slot in as the ace while they wait for Gray to return.

As for players the Cardinals could give up, they could maybe look at Alec Burleson, Dylan Carlson, or Luken Baker. Those three guys are essentially crowded out and don't have a clear path forward with the Cardinals.

If they want to try for Cease, they may have to go deep into their prospect capital. This would mean maybe even including Victor Scott II as a trade piece. Fans will likely scoff at the idea of trading Scott, but I don't find it likely anyway.

I think a move for Cease can be ruled out for now, but if the Mariners target a pitcher, a trade for Woo or Miller could materialize. And with the Guardians likely not contending and looking to trade Bieber, this could be a logical solution.

We'll just have to see how Gray recovers over the next few days.