Grading the Cardinals' 2023 trade deadline based on their stated goals

The Cardinals moved quite a few players at this year's deadline. Let's grade the deadline as a whole based on John Mozeliak's stated goals.

Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals
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Goal #1: "Pitching, Pitching, Pitching"

Over the last 5+ years in baseball, teams have been targeting a specific type of pitcher in the draft, during trades and during free agency: pitchers who can strike batters out. The Cardinals, however, maintained a focus on groundball pitchers to capitalize on their Gold-Glove infield. This plan worked, up until this year. The rule changes limited shifting, and the team couldn't quite adjust like other shift-heavy teams of yesteryear such as the Rays, Dodgers, and Astros.

Therefore, Mozeliak was forced to identify and trade for pitchers, especially ones who could strike batters out. He stated this goal very clearly in a recent interview. Gathering 7 pitchers in one deadline is a fulfillment of that goal. 4 of the pitching prospects acquired fit immediately into the Cardinals' top prospects. Drew Rom (LHP, #26 in organization), Adam Kloffenstein (RHP, #22), Sem Robberse (RHP, #6), and Tekoah Roby (RHP, #4) were all acquired at this deadline.

The quantity part of Mozeliak's plan was completed; what about the quality aspect? For context, the MLB league-average strikeouts per nine innings is 10.04 K's/9 innings. The average strikeout rate is 22.1% of batters faced. For their careers, Roby strikes out 10.97 batters per nine innings, Robberse strikes out 8.49 per nine innings, Kloffenstein records 9.73 strikeouts per nine innings, and Rom K's 10.53 batters per nine innings. Roby, the highest-ranked prospect of the four, has very strong strikeout numbers. Acquiring 2 pitchers with above-average K rates surely helps the farm system's pitching depth. Robberse, the lowest of the four, has high-strikeout potential should his velocity tick up.

Goal #1 grade: B-

While the front office did a great job acquiring plenty of arms, the high-upside that they may have been seeking isn't quite there. Roby has potential, should he remain healthy. Beyond him, it seems like the Cardinals acquired mid-to-low-rotation arms. While the hope would have been to trade from the infield/outfield depth to acquire a high-end, controllable starter, that goal wasn't met. Had the team traded a young player such as Dylan Carlson, Tommy Edman, or Alec Burleson for a pitcher, the pitching grade would have been higher.