Ranking the 9 most important moves of the St. Louis Cardinals offseason thus far

The St. Louis Cardinals made nine major moves this offseason. How important was each move?
St Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers
St Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages
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The offseason storybook for the St. Louis Cardinals may be coming to an end; Bill DeWitt III said as much recently. The Cardinals were one of the most active teams, and they spent a fair amount of money to improve a team that most recently won only 71 games, the team's worst record since 1990.

Changes were made both on and off the field to improve the team. For the first time in a while, a frontline starting pitcher was signed, an outside voice was brought in at the executive level, and a player coming off a strong season was traded rather than kept. Oddities abounded this offseason; fans' emotions shifted at least a half dozen times when pondering the moves John Mozeliak and Michael Girsch spearheaded.

In my opinion, the Cardinals made nine important moves this offseason. There is the potential that the team will make a huge trade for a starting pitcher still or that they sign a reliever, but until those moves are made, we will assume the offseason is over.

These nine moves presented different levels of importance given the direction of the offseason. The clear need was for pitching. John Mozeliak also set out to fix the clubhouse culture, bring in more voices into the clubhouse, remove logjams at various positions, and rebuild a bullpen that didn't mirror the relief corps at the beginning of the season.

That's quite the checklist, but Mo seemed to have accomplished each and every goal, and that made for a strong offseason. Some moves, however, were greater and more important than others. Therefore, I wanted to rank them in importance for the team both now and in the future. I will start with the least important move and end with the most important move from this offseason.

9. The Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 Draft often comes and goes without much notice. It occurs during the Winter Meetings which were held in Nashville this year. Players are eligible to be drafted by other teams if they aren't added to their current team's 40-man roster after a certain number of years (either four or five years depending on their age when they were initially signed).

This year, the Cardinals had a number of players who could be taken in the Rule 5 Draft this year, but there were two players of particular note: pitcher Ian Bedell and reliever Leonardo Taveras. Ian Bedell was the more interesting player in my mind, and the Cardinals were able to retain him. This is the first noteworthy aspect of the team's Rule 5 Draft this year to me.

The second noteworthy aspect of the draft to me was their selection of a pitcher from Boston's AAA team, Ryan Fernandez. This is significant for two reasons: first, Chaim Bloom is familiar with Fernandez, and second, Fernandez represents another pitcher who features a slider/cutter, a quality that the Cardinals appear to be interested in this offseason. Fernandez could fill the final spot in the bullpen, but the trade for Andrew Kittredge makes it more of a competition now.

Most Rule 5 players take their time getting to the majors. When they do make it, it's a bit of a crapshoot as to whether or not they'll contribute at the highest level of baseball. That is what makes these moves the least important of the offseason, my favoritism toward Ian Bedell aside.