Making the right trade decision for the Cardinals: Dylan Cease or Jesus Luzardo?

The St. Louis Cardinals could use another high-end starting pitcher, and Jesus Luzardo and Dylan Cease are both available. Which pitcher is the better choice?
Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres
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Even after adding Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, and Sonny Gray, St. Louis's rotation still feels a tier below other playoff contenders' rotations, especially the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League. They could be forced to go head-to-head with the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins in the American League come playoff time.

Reports have been swirling all offseason regarding Chicago White Sox's All-Star starter, Dylan Cease. The St. Louis Cardinals have been connected to him throughout the process, and they have the prospect capital to swing a trade for the right-handed pitcher. Buster Olney of ESPN recently reported that a Dylan Cease trade may have to wait until the trade deadline, as teams aren't willing to meet Chicago's high demands. He most recently signed for $8 million through arbitration.

St. Louis has also been linked to a young starter in Miami: Jesus Luzardo. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch brought up the team's interest in Luzardo as recently as early January. Luzardo, a southpaw who is only twenty-six, currently pitches for the Miami Marlins. He has faced more injuries than Dylan Cease up to this point in his career, but he seems to have quelled these concerns with his 2023 season. Jesus Luzardo and the Marlins agreed on a $5.5 million deal for 2024.

Either Dylan Cease or Jesus Luzardo would immediately make the Cardinals' rotation one of the best in the league. They would be able to tout two top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers, and they could roll both out to start a playoff series and immediately have the upper hand. The only issue, however, is that getting either of these starters will cost a lot in player capital.

Both players feature different profiles, but both would provide a great boost to a rotation still in need of some assistance. I wanted to take a deeper look into what each pitcher would provide the Cardinals' 2024 pitching staff. They are young, relatively controllable, and can both dominate a game, so I wanted to look a little further and find out which pitcher could provide the most benefit to the team.

Which starting pitching trade candidate would be the better option for the St. Louis Cardinals to trade for this season, Dylan Cease or Jesus Luzardo?