Item #4: High-leverage reliever via free agency
Who they should target: Yuki Matsui, Jordan Hicks, Shelby Miller, Robert Stephenson, Reynaldo Lopez, Liam Hendricks, Brett Suter
When it comes to relief options on the free agent market, there are a variety of names the Cardinals could add to their bullpen that would help create a dynamic group for St. Louis in the highest-pressure spots.
Yuki Matsui is heavily linked to the Cardinals and is the youngest player to ever hit 200 career saves in Japan. He's got great strikeout stuff even though he doesn't throw hard, and should not require a large contract to bring into the fold.
A reunion with Jordan Hicks or Shelby Miller would make a ton of sense too. Hicks really found his grove as a closer for the Cardinals during the summer months before being traded to Toronto for their stretch run. He has some of the best stuff in all of baseball and is still young as well. Miller has enjoyed a career resurgence as a reliever, posting a 1.71 ERA in 42 innings for the Dodgers this year.
Robert Stephenson, Reynaldo Lopez, Liam Hendricks, and Brett Suter would all provide various levels of experience to the Cardinals bullpen, and each of them are guys they could trust in big spots. Josh Hader is far and away the best reliever on the market, but I just doubt the Cardinals would give him the kind of contract he is going to get this winter.
If the Cardinals can focus on one of these relievers on a short-term deal with not a crazy high AAV, it would still allow them to make all of the other moves they need to make while strengthening their bullpen in the process.