It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to understand that the St. Louis Cardinals need significant changes this offseason. It also does not require one to see that the rotation is the club's biggest weakness entering the offseason.
In his press conference on Tuesday, John Mozeliak announced that LHP Steven Matz would be going on the IL with a lat strain and LHP Zack Thompson would be replacing him in the rotation. But the bigger news came in his comments regarding the club's offseason plans, as he once again named exactly what the Cardinals intend to do this offseason.
""Realistically, we know we have to add three starters this offseason. We know we have to add depth. We went into the season thinking that we would have that covered. It didn't work out that way. Having a repeat of that would not be in the best interest of the franchise. So I think our approach is going to be very aggressive on the pitching side. We'll see where it takes us.""- John Mozeliak
Yes, Mozeliak did not commit to adding a bona fide ace to the rotation through some mega-contract or packaging together multiple bats for a front-line starter. I get that many fans feel as though Mozeliak is all talk, and at the end of the day, his actions will be what we will judge him on when Spring Training rolls around, but the vibe I consistently get from this front office lately is that big changes are coming. He has now said on multiple occasions since before the trade deadline that they have to add three pitchers from outside the organization for their 2024 rotation.
Think back to this past offseason. What did Mozeliak say their biggest need was? Catcher. What did he go out and do? He aggressively went after Sean Murphy, only balked because they wanted a package of Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, and Gordon Graceffo, and instead signed the best free agent available in Willson Contreras.
He called his shot and he delivered. I think he made a misstep in telling fans that payroll would go up when it barely did, but at the end of the day, he did what he said he was going to do.
Now Mozeliak is saying the club will be adding three starting pitchers, and that they'll be aggressive in their pursuit of those. I feel very confident that one, possibly two of those arms are front-line quality, and the third helps strengthen the depth of this rotation.
The only thing really standing in Mozeliak's way of making this a reality is Bill DeWitt Jr. If DeWitt is willing to open up the pocketbooks, as he has shown the willingness to in the past, then Mozeliak can actually upgrade this team in a significant way. If not, expect three arms, but an underwhelming feeling in general.