The offseason is going to be here before we know it, and the St. Louis Cardinals are going to find themselves in the thick of the starting pitching market.
It still remains to be seen how the Cardinals will actually handle their pursuit of pitching. Depending on who you ask, some believe John Mozeliak and company will not bring in the high-end starter that this rotation needs, rather falling back on the notion that depth is more important to this team.
I stand in the camp that the front office will be looking to accomplish both things. They know they need three or so starting pitchers, but they also need one or two of those guys to be top of the rotation quality. There have already been multiple reports, both national and local, that indicate the Cardinals have significant interest in the high-end starters on the market.
There's just one problem: I'm not sure there is a "surefire", top-of-the-rotation option available for them.
When you look at each of the starting pitchers available in free agency, and some rumored trade candidates, you don't have to stare long at them to see potential red flags pop up. Whether it's a regression in performance, health, risky underlying numbers, or something else, Cardinals' fans will be crossing their fingers about something with each of them.