Trading for Juan Soto would have made it very difficult to upgrade pitching going forward
Everyone knows that the Cardinals need to improve their pitching, especially their rotation. In order to do that, the Cardinals will need both financial resources and trade assets to make these upgrades in the immediate future.
Had the Cardinals traded for Soto, they likely would have tied their hands up a bit to their current roster. I can almost guarantee they wouldn't have signed Willson Contreras, and they also would have little money to add to their staff. More resources would have had to go to filling out the roster, rather than letting their top prospects do that for them.
Speaking of those prospects, any of their young outfielders or top prospects will be needed to acquire a front-line starter at some point. If John Mozeliak and the company would have emptied out their prospect pool to bring in Soto, they would have been starting down large arbitration payments for at least the next two years, and if they wanted an extension, it would be massive.
Now, the Cardinals are in prime position to add pitching at both the trade deadline and in free agency this year, while still maintaining future roster flexibility and an elite lineup. I'm not sure that could have happened with Soto in the fold.
Looking back, would you have dealt Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn, Dylan Carlson, and more for Juan Soto? Or would you have passed on the deal and kept flexibility as the Cardinals did?