Number four starter: Miles Mikolas
If there's one thing we can be sure Miles Mikolas will give the St. Louis Cardinals next year, it's innings.
Miles Mikolas missed the 2020 season due to injury and only logged 44.2 innings in 2021 during his comeback, but outside of that, Mikolas has eclipsed 200 innings three times for the Cardinals and 184 innings during his other full season. That is quite the asset for a team that talks about needing innings.
Mikolas really struggled last year, posting a 4.78 ERA and leading all of baseball in hits allowed with 226. Part of the reason for Mikolas' struggles though is the fact that the Cardinals did ride him so deep into ball games so often. They really relied on Mikolas to give them 6+ innings every time out, even if that meant giving up a few extra runs.
I do not expect Mikolas to be an All-Star again like he was in 2022, but if he can give them a sub-4.50 ERA with 200 innings once again, that would be huge for the back of that rotation. With uncertainty about Matz's health and the health of another name on this list, getting a ton of innings from a guy like Mikolas will take a lot of stress off of the Cardinals' bullpen.
If the Cardinals are in contention at the trade deadline, I wouldn't be surprised to see them acquire another starter who could even bump Mikolas out of the rotation if he is struggling. Regardless, his main role in this rotation is to help the Cardinals get through the 162-game season, as the three names ahead of him on this list would all start over him in the postseason, and I'd imagine even Steven Matz, Zack Thompson, or some deadline acquisition would as well.