The Cardinals next fifth starter needs to be Andre Pallante

As the Cardinals struggle to fill their fifth rotation spot, Andre Pallante appears to be the current best option.
St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks
St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

In 2022, a Cardinals pitcher shuttled between the bullpen and the rotation, eventually making ten starts that year.  In those starts, he let up three runs or less in nine of them and pitched at least into the fifth inning for seven of the starts.  The underlying metrics admittedly weren’t fantastic but for a team that needed emergency starts, this individual delivered.

That pitcher? Andre Pallante.

As the Cardinals search for a fifth starter to help patch the rotation on an emergency basis, they should turn to Pallante to man the role.  Sources are indicating he’ll get the start on Wednesday against the Reds (although others are saying that no starter has been named yet) and, unless it’s a disaster, the spot should be Pallante’s for now.  

I know that’s not a popular opinion but Pallante wouldn’t be a permanent fix and he shouldn’t be.  In fact, there are other options I prefer the team to consider.  To start, it’s clear the team should trade for a fifth starter.  Pitching depth, at least in the immediate term, is clearly lacking and it’s equally clear that the team is simply not confident in any in-house options.  The Cards don’t need an ace and it won’t take a haul to find a serviceable fifth starter.   Even in May, there are teams that are going to sell that have pitching and the Cardinals should strike early if they are truly serious about contending.

The team could have even tried to sign Brad Keller, who was cut by the White Sox and later signed with the Red Sox.  (Although, we don’t know, of course, that Keller would have even entertained wearing the birds on the bat.)  Would Keller have saved the season and morphed into an ace? Of course not. But could he immediately have slotted into the rotation to give you some innings? You bet.

But despite the glaring need for additional pitching, it seems outside help is not coming (at least not yet.)  Given that, something needs to change in the fifth rotation spot and Pallante is the next man up.

While it would be nice to see what Sem Robberse, who has impressed in his 10 starts at AAA, could do in the majors, I also understand the team wanting him to get a little more seasoning.  Given how often the Cardinals seem to botch their pitching development (I still cringe at what the team did to Johan Oviedo in 2021), I won’t make a fuss about the team ensuring that a prospect isn’t rushed, especially when there’s another option with major league starting experience.

Pallante likely won’t set the world on fire but he’ll be better than Matthew Liberatore.  It seems everybody but the front office and management could tell that the Liberatore experiment would end disastrously and of course, it did.  Liberatore needs to remain in the bullpen and the Cardinals need to have someone they can even remotely trust taking the mound every fifth day.

For now, that best bet appears to be Pallante.