With the free agent market for starting pitching slimming down, the Cardinals must look into the trade market to bolster their rotation.
The Cardinals are slated to go into 2023 with pretty much the same starting rotation they had in 2022. With age and injury concerns, John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, needs to consider getting some help for the rotation.
Their ace, Adam Wainwright, will play in his final season before retiring. Miles Mikolas will play in the last year of his four-year deal worth $68 million. Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty are entering their final arbitration seasons. Steven Matz is the only pitcher signed past the 2023 season, the second season of his four-year deal worth $44 million. The Cardinals will also depend on Andre Pallante, Dakota Hudson, and Matthew Liberatore.
While the Cardinals weren't expecting what they got from Pallante, they could again find another gem from their minor league system who would make it impossible not to promote them to St. Louis.
In the meantime, Mozeliak must look for some certainty to bolster their rotation, and it seems they will have to hit the trade market to do so. So let's consider some candidates the Cardinals may check into in the coming days.
Marlins Pablo Lopez would be good, young addition
The Marlins are loaded with good pitching but are struggling to find outfield help, which the Cardinals have plenty of now. The 26-year-old righty is under team control until he becomes a free agent in 2025, another attractive attribute Pablo Lopez possesses.
Lopez was 10-10 in 32 games in 2022. He had a 3.75 ERA in 180 innings pitched. He threw 170 strikeouts and induced 46.1 - percent grounders.
Lopez would undoubtedly benefit from a Gold Glove-caliber defense behind him. He would get just that in joining the Cardinals with Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman, and Paul Goldschmidt. Lopez primarily uses a four-seam fastball as well as a changeup. He has an arsenal that includes several offspeed pitches, such as a curveball, a cutter, and a sinker.
The Cardinals will have a new catcher in Willson Contreras and a new pitching coach in Dusty Blake. It will be fun to see how they will contribute to the direction of the pitching staff. A new addition, such as Lopez, could be fun to test their direction.