The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly in preliminary trade discussions with the Miami Marlins centered around starter Pablo Lopez, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal (paid subscription required).
We've talked a length this off-season about a variety of options that the Cardinals could pursue to top their rotation for the 2023 season, and Lopez has been a name that is consistently attached to them in their pursuits. Rosenthal's sources indicated that the clubs have had discussions, but names that are attached to the conversations have only been speculated to this point.
Rosenthal connected Lars Nootbaar as who would likely be the Marlins' preference, but the Cardinals were reluctant to include him in any negotiations this off-season when they were pursuing catching targets. He did point out that they've been open to moving Dylan Carlson though, and although there have been no indications that they'd move Tyler O'Neill, he's another name floated out there.
I'm a bit skeptical as to how much of an upgrade Lopez is to the Cardinals' rotation. He would provide some more certainty to the rotation and be the "ace" of the staff, I just have a hard time believing he fills the need of someone who can truly match up with the best starters in baseball. I don't think it would be a bad idea to acquire Lopez, but I do think they need to be careful how much they give up, as I'd rather have those resources to pursue a true ace later.
In 2022, Lopez went 10-10 with a 3.75 ERA in a career-high 180 innings pitched. If he truly can handle a larger workload now and repeat his All-Star like first-half numbers, he'd be a really nice addition to the arms St. Louis already has.
Here are a few different ways I could see this trade panning out for the Cardinals and Marlins should they decide to pull the trigger on a Lopez deal.