Five trade deadline candidates that can give the St Louis Cardinals their ace in the hole

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The St. Louis Cardinals are in prime position to trade for an ace at the deadline, which ones could they target?

It might be March, but the need for a true number-one pitcher has been glaring for years for the St. Louis Cardinals. Many pitchers will be free agents after this season with much uncertainty moving forward for the pitching staff.

John Mozaliak has made it clear that the team will wait to pursue other available options throughout the season versus spending to spend during the 2022-2023 offseason. So what candidates could he be looking at? Here are five options that will give the Cardinals the next step toward winning a World Series in 2023.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale has been a major liability post the 2018 World Series for the Boston Red Sox. He signed a 5 year, $145 million (fully guaranteed) extension as his reward for being the main horse for Boston. This move has aged equal to the Stephen Strasburg extension. Sale has pitched 194.50 innings since the extension started in 2019.

He has not pitched badly, the problem is getting on a field to pitch. Sale has missed so much time, injuries including rib fractures, broken wrists, and Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox would love to shed this contract, and Sale would love to show the league that he still has value to the team. With 55 million still owed over the next two seasons, maybe the Cardinals can pick up part of the tab?

Trade proposal: Alec Burleson, Paul DeJong, Jonathan Mejia, and Connor Thomas for Chris Sale and 20 million (AAV of 17.5 million for 2 seasons of control)