Cardinals: 5 free agent targets to improve the club before Spring Training

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Michael Wacha

I'll be honest, I am not a huge advocate for the Cardinals bringing in another starter before the beginning of the season, especially if they are not a front-line guy. The Cardinals already have five guys lined up for 2023, depth options like Dakota Hudson, Andre Pallante, Matthew Liberatore, and Connor Thomas, as well as Gordon Graceffo and Michael McGreevy, who should factor in at some point as well. But, if Michael Wacha is willing to come in on a one-year deal, he could be worth a flyer for the club.

It's been some time since Wacha broke out as a 21-year-old in the St. Louis rotation. He had a career resurgence with the Boston Red Sox last season, posting a 3.32 ERA in 127.1 innings for them. His change-up remains one of the better pitches in all of baseball, and his groundball-style approach fits right in with what the Cardinals have in their rotation.

I do think it clogs up the rotation quite a bit, but if he is willing to take on a swingman-type role, it may make someone like Hudson expendable in a trade. While Hudson received a lot of flack last season, he was coming off Tommy John surgery, and he is another player that the club sees potential in after revamping his approach this off-season.

There's always something fun about bringing back former impact players. It wouldn't be the same as the Albert Pujols reunion last year, but it does kind of resemble the situation a bit. The Cardinals had DH options, and adding another bat to the equation did not make a ton of sense. Yet, without clarity on the position, they took a flyer on Pujols, and it worked out beautifully.

Again, Wacha is not going to come in and have a magical year like Pujols did, but he could prove to be a valuable piece. Jim Bowden connected him to the Cardinals recently, so it's worth keeping an eye on.