Grading the St. Louis Cardinals offseason using 3 different perspectives

Now that the Cardinals' offseason is over, let's grade the offseason from some different vantage points.

Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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Based on expectations: C

I was tempted to make this grade even lower, but the way the Cardinals constructed their bullpen as well as some of their front-office additions were too impressive for me to grade them much lower, even with how disappointing the overall rotation rebuild was.

Let's start with the rotation. It always felt like Sonny Gray was going to be a Cardinal, so there was no surprise there. In all honesty, Gray continues to go under the radar amongst many fans with just how good he is. I am a huge fan of the move for him and can't wait to see him on the mound for St. Louis this season. Gray has the potential to put up the best individual season from a Cardinals' starter since Jack Flaherty's electric 2019 run.

But it was the two starting pitchers the Cardinals signed before Gray that really frustrated many who follow the club. While the additions of Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson have grown on me and I'll explain so later in my grades, grabbing both of those guys instead of adding another front-line starter to pair with Gray was a massive whiff from the Cardinals. Again, I like what both Lynn and Gibson can provide the Cardinals, but with Steven Matz and Miles Mikolas taking up the other two rotation spots, the Cardinals really needed two of the three starters they acquired to be high upside.

While talks of Yoshinobu Yamamoto were real according to people like Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat, the Cardinals ultimately folded from the conversation as the prices skyrocketed. Tyler Glasnow was someone they apparently called about, but the Dodgers gave up a ton of trade capital to acquire him. Talks of a potential Dylan Cease or Jesus Luzardo trade have continued, but the White Sox and Marlins seem to have their asking prices too high.

Still, other names like Eduardo Rodriguez, Shota Imanaga, and Marcus Stroman were available to sign. Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery are still available. And yet, the Cardinals appear to be done adding to their rotation.

Still, the Cardinals went out and made a lot of really promising additions to their bullpen mix this offseason. Keynan Middleton and Andrew Kittredge are two veteran arms who can play high-leverage roles for the club. Riley O'Brien, Nick Robertson, and Ryan Fernandez have really interesting upsides as well. Many thought the Cardinals may cut corners when it came to bullpen targets, and yet, they seemed to be really aggressive and shrewd with those moves.

That may be at least in part due to the hiring of a new front office advisor, Chaim Bloom, who was a home run move this offseason. Bloom, who was let go from his role running baseball operations for the Red Sox, is one of the most well-respected executives in the game today and was a huge part of building the Rays' pitching development infrastructure, something the Cardinals desperately need to replicate. He's also someone who has a long history of identifying under-the-radar arms, hence why four of the relievers the Cardinals acquired have ties to Bloom in their career.

Bloom may be the heir to Mozeliak's leadership in St. Louis, and that alone may be the best move the Cardinals made this offseason. On top of that, the Cardinals poached an exciting executive on the business side of things from the Toronto Blue Jays and added another advisor to the mix who you may have heard of before, Yadier Molina.

While the overall rotation moves may be closer to a C- or a D+, the bullpen and front office additions are much closer to a B+ or A-. Based on expectations, I have to say this was a pretty average offseason. There was so much more they could have done, but instead, they settled for some safer upgrades.