Right now, all signs seem to indicate that the St. Louis Cardinals will be making a lot of moves this offseason, something that we all want to see happen, but people have been rightfully skeptical of.
Until the Cardinals actually make any significant move(s) this offseason, there will be many who won't believe their rhetoric. But according to reports close to the situation, it sounds like ownership is finally on board to spend. Before you say "I've heard this before", no we haven't. We may have heard them say they'll explore markets, but we've never heard that ownership is in agreement with the front office that they must meet the price of pitching this time around. They've got to put their money where their mouth is, but this time it seems like they actually want to - rather than fans just wishing it would happen.
Assuming the Cardinals follow through on their intentions, what starting pitchers seem the most realistic out of the free agent pool and trade market? They want to add three starters, and really need at least two of them to be top-of-the-rotation talents, but how could will they go about doing so? I went ahead and ranked the ten most realistic options in my opinion based on what is linked to the Cardinals at the moment. Not just names that we want them to pursue, but names that insiders say St. Louis is actually interested in.
Many of these names come via the reporting of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold, who has confirmed the club's interest in each of these names. While they obviously won't acquire each of these pitchers, I've ranked them in order of who I see the Cardinals actually acquiring.
10. Trade with Seattle
At one point, I was convinced, like many others, that a deal with the Seattle Mariners involving one of the Cardinals' young bats and the Mariners' young pitching was just too perfect of a fit. Now, I'm really not sure either side will make the deal happen. This isn't for a lack of interest from either side, I just don't think Seattle and St. Louis will be able to come to an agreement on a price.
The name that was floated around the most from the Mariners was Logan Gilbert, who the industry thinks is way more valuable than most thought in the early summer. After posting a 3.73 ERA in 190.2 innings and four years of club control still, Gilbert is one of the most valuable assets in baseball. It would likely be Lars Nootbaar plus other talent, or both Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan, to get the Mariners to be serious about an offer.
I like Gilbert a lot as a player, but that's just too high of a cost to pay when the Cardinals could go out and sign the top-end pitching they need, or trade for someone with a little bit less control but would require a lot less in return.
Bryan Woo and Bryce Miller seem like more realistic trade candidates, but once again, are either of them worth moving Nootbaar, Gorman, or Donovan for? I don't think so. If Seattle is willing to make a deal involving other names for Miller or Woo, I'm all ears. Seattle's front office has been pretty open about their desire to hold onto all of their young pitching, and I don't blame them.