Ranking the 10 starting pitchers that the Cardinals should explore trading for

The Cardinals will likely swing a trade for one of their rotation upgrades this offseason. Which arms should they prioritize the most?

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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1. Tyler Glasnow

The number one name on this list is arguably the most talented of the bunch and also does not cost an arm and a leg in trade capital either. Tyler Glasnow has some of the best stuff in all of baseball, yet his $25 million salary in 2024 and injury history make him a prime trade candidate for the Rays.

There are a few ways the Cardinals could go about this. If the Rays eat a chunk of Glasnow's salary, which I think they may, my guess is a package centered around Tommy Edman and Alec Burleson moves the needle here significantly. The less money the Rays eat though, the less the Cardinals have to give up in return, with someone like Tyler O'Neill or Dylan Carlson becoming a prominent name in that package instead.

There are scenarios here for the Cardinals where they don't take on much in terms of net salary here. Say they pull off a deal around Edman and O'Neill, they'd be shedding about $13 million in salary while taking on $25 million. That basically makes Glasnow a $12 million payroll acquisition, which is insane value for the talent he is.

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I could see his trade market getting more expensive though, as I think a lot of teams will be intrigued by the lower cost point and high-end talent he presents. But I also think those teams will be hesitant to give up much in return as well, so I do not see this turning into a conversation where it requires one of the Cardinals' best young bats to get it done.

The best-case scenario is the Cardinals grab two great starters in free agency and Glasnow, but I wouldn't mind him being one of their top two additions. A rotation featuring one of Nola, Yamamoto, or Gray, plus Glasnow, and then another high-quality arm transforms this rotation. Ideally, though you're getting one of Yamamoto or Nola, Gray, and Glasnow and becoming a true World Series contender.