The 2023 season will soon be over, and with it, the ultimate nightmare scenario for Cardinals fans.
Never in a million years could we have dreamed that a season like this would occur, but such is the consequence of a lack of offseason activity and failure to fix the pitching staff. But fear not, Cardinals fans. It's almost over.
And when the season does finally end, it will be time to begin planning for a much different offseason than what we saw heading into this year. As John Mozeliak put it at the trade deadline, the focus for the Cardinals will be "pitching pitching pitching." It won't be easy, but the Cardinals will need to add some pieces from outside the organization, at least three to be exact.
And so, it'll be interesting to see what they do. But there's a certain pitcher in Chicago that may be worth taking a look at.
Dylan Cease is somebody that Cardinals fans have had their eye on for quite some time, and many were hoping that the Cards could land Cease in a deal at the trade deadline. That didn't happen, but there may be a chance to swing a deal with the White Sox when the season is over.
For starters, Cease is a big strikeout guy. He's got 183 of them so far this season. The right-hander is also averaging over 10 strikeouts per nine innings. The walks are a bit concerning, as he's averaging just over four per game, and he owns a 4.00 FIP, which isn't bad but could be better.
He was second in the Cy Young race last year in the American League as he emerged as a true frontline starter. His strikeout stuff is also something that could be attractive for the Cardinals.
Recently, Jesse Rogers of ESPN spoke on 101 ESPN and said that he could see the Cardinals and White Sox making a deal for Cease. However, he wouldn't come cheap. The Cardinals would have to deal away some valuable pieces. But that's the nature of trade. You have to give to get.
Rogers said that somebody like Nolan Gorman and a pitching prospect might do the trick. Losing Gorman is certainly not ideal given the way he's performed this season, so that could complicate matters.
Last year, the young right-hander had a 2.20 ERA, which was second-best in the American League. Another sign of trouble however would be that he owns an ERA of 4.98 in his 29 starts, and that's certainly concerning. The Cardinals will want to be cognizant of that if they try to swing a deal for Cease.
However, this may just be an outlier, as every pitcher has a bad season every once in a while. With his ability to strike hitters out at a rapid rate, he has the makings of an ace, and in my opinion, he would be an ideal trade target.
Still, it remains to be seen whether this year is an outlier or a true representation of Cease. His track record is pretty good so far, and he would instantly make the Cardinals better, at least on paper.
The Cardinals would have two years of control and could still afford to go out and sign somebody like Aaron Nola.