This is the offseason that the Cardinals must make aggressive trades and signings
When you look at the free agent market this coming offseason, Julio Urias, Aaron Nola, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Lucas Giolito, Josh Hader, Blake Snell, Max Scherzer, Luis Severino, Tyler Mahle, and Sean Manaea are all available along with Flaherty and Montgomery. Names will likely be available in trade as well, such as Dylan Cease, Shane Bieber, and any other names that may arise.
There should be no shortage of options for St. Louis. They can make multiple upgrades by being shrewd in both free agency and the trade market. The club is in the perfect position to do both, as they have star talent on their team, up-and-coming talent to partner with it, and a surplus of talent that they can use to acquire the needs that they have. The presence of so many young contributors should help St. Louis to go after bigger names in free agency as well since they are not having to worry about paying so many people on the roster.
In December, Mozeliak said "Our model will be tested" in light of the spending around baseball. While some of baseball's biggest spenders, like the Phillies, Mets, and Padres, may be struggling, the Cardinals cannot claim that their model has been successful this year with the abysmal start they have had to this season.
Honestly, as frustrating as this year has been, it could end up being the best thing that could have happened to this organization. Emphasis on could, as seasons like this also have the potential to blow up clubs in really bad ways. My hope is that this season forces the Cardinals to finally look in the mirror and approach things differently going forward, or risk becoming a franchise where it rides off the coattails of its history, fooling itself into believing it's doing better than it really is.