Over the past several years, the Cardinals have gotten away from making certain moves to strengthen their roster, and they've paid the price as a result.
The most recent example of this was this offseason when they did not address the pitching woes. The results have been grim this year, and it's going to take some big pieces in trades and free agency to get the Cardinals back into contention next year.
However, that doesn't mean the Cardinals don't make any moves at all. In fact, they do have a nice track record of finding hidden gems in trades and in free agency. Some examples include Seung-Hwan Oh, JoJo Romero, Brad Miller, Kwang-Hyun Kim, and Corey Dickerson.
But earlier this year, John Mozeliak made a deal with the Cleveland Guardians to acquire Richie Palacios. All they had to give up was a little bit of cash.
As it turns out, this was quite a steal for the Cardinals. Palacios was called up in late August after injuries claimed Nolan Gorman and Lars Nootbaar. He was given an opportunity to shine, and he ran with it.
He has shown off some incredible power at the plate and can play some elite defense as well, even giving fans some shades of fan-favorite and World Series champion Jon Jay, who is now the first base coach for the Marlins.
Palacios can play all three outfield positions and can also play some second base as well. And despite the season being a lost cause for the Cardinals, he has been a major spark plug, filling in for key players when needed the most.
That weapon was Palacios. All he did was hit two home runs after replacing Gorman, which helped pave the way for Adam Wainwright to finally pick up career win No. 199. One night later, he got the start at second base, which isn't his usual position.
Once again, Palacios shined when it mattered the most on Wednesday, hitting his fourth home run of the season. That was the lone tally of the game for the Cardinals, but that was all they would need as they picked up a series win against the Orioles.
Palacios also helped Drew Rom pick up his first career win.
Last year, the super utilityman hit just .232 with the Guardians in 54 games. He didn't hit any home runs and only drove in 10 on the year. But this is yet another case of John Mozeliak finding a hidden gem, and for all of the front office's mistakes lately, picking him up was certainly a smart move, even if he was only intended to be a depth piece.
Palacios has been more than that and has earned more opportunities to prove himself for 2024. St. Louis has a ton of outfielders, perhaps too many. But Palacios could either be used as the fourth outfielder or even potentially be a trade piece as the Cardinals look for pitching.