In order to get quality assets at this year's trade deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals decided to part ways with impact arms like Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Stratton. Considering the team was already razor-thin when it came to dependable arms on their staff, it's no wonder the pitching woes feel even worse today.
I can't think of the last time the Cardinals were in a position like this in late August, throwing together a rotation and bullpen that is a mix of innings eaters, expiring contracts, and young arms who could have a bright future with the club. For a team that needs to know what it has internally going into the offseason, opening up all of these opportunities was the right move.
As of late, we have seen Dakota Hudson, Matthew Liberatore, Zack Thompson, and Drew Rom all get shots in the Cardinals' rotation to fight for a bigger role with the club in 2024. The opportunities have come with mixed results, but overall, that group has given the Cardinals some interesting options to consider next season that I'm not sure any of us would have prior to their recent outings.
The Cardinals still plan to add three starting pitchers this offseason. Couple that with Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz, and that's a full rotation already. But every year, whether it's during Spring Training or shortly into the season, a rotation spot or two opens up due to injuries. Even if there is not an open rotation spot when the offseason ends, each of these young arms is fighting to earn the title of "next man up" when the need arises for St. Louis.
Even if it's unlikely, there's a chance that their performance down the stretch could lead to the Cardinals targeting two starters this offseason and having an open competition during Spring Training for the fifth starter spot. I still imagine the Cardinals will add three starters so they have plenty of options next season, but the last month of baseball could change that.