4. Shota Imanaga
Shota Imanaga got the start for Team Japan in the final against Team USA, going two innings while allowing just one run on four hits. It was an all-hands oall-hands-on-deckn deck kind of game, as no pitcher went more than two innings for Japan.
The Cardinals have already sent scouts to Japan to watch Imanaga pitch, and although it's not a guarantee that he'll be posted this year, it seems increasingly likely. Imanaga will turn 30 soon and has a 2.71 ERA with a 10.8 SO/9 in 126.1 innings in Japan this year.
Imanaga will come at a much lower cost than Yamamoto. He may not have the same upside as the 25-year-old, but he seems like he's ready-made to plus into a number three starter role, with possibly the ability to play up as a number two starter.
The Cardinals like to have left-handed starting pitchers, so adding Imanaga to a rotation with Steven Matz next year makes a lot of sense fit-wise. His contract would also complement a larger signing as well, so they should be able to afford to sign Imanaga while also grabbing one of the top rotation options as well.