Three trade deadline deals that together make the Cardinals a postseason threat

If the Cardinals made these three moves at the deadline, they'd have a chance to make some noise in October.
San Diego Padres v Texas Rangers
San Diego Padres v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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The Cardinals get their number two starter

MAX 2.0

If the Cardinals are going to make a significant move at this year's trade deadline, it has to be for a number two starter, right? No matter how much room for growth this lineup has or how good this bullpen already is, it is hard to believe in a team's chances in October without two true difference-makers in their starting rotation.

I think it is safe to say we will not see the Cardinals move any of the following names at this deadline: Jordan Walker, Tink Hence, Quinn Mathews, Cooper Hjerpe, Chase Davis, and Thomas Saggese. Frankly, I don't really think I see a deal out there where they would move Victor Scott II or Ivan Herrera, but I wouldn't rule out either being dealt, especially Herrera given the Cardinals' view of Pedro Pages.

Outside of that group, the Cardinals have a lot of middle-tier names that they would probably be open to moving. It may end up taking a name from that group to get a pitcher talented enough to pair with Sonny Gray at the top of their rotation, but I think someone like Max Scherzer will come at a lower price than that.

Tekaoh Roby is someone who I think would make for a very interesting centerpiece here. Obviously the Cardinals acquired Roby from Texas last deadline in the Jordan Montgomery deal, so the Rangers know Roby well. I don't think they loved having to move him last summer, but with his injury and their desire to go all in on winning the World Series, they had to be willing to part with talent like him. In a lost 2024 season, they could recoup that arm they drafted.

Roby has been on the IL since late May with an undisclosed injury, so that complicates his value, but he was in a similar situation health-wise last summer when the Cardinals acquired him. Roby was a top 100 prospect according to multiple outlets before the season, so the talent is clearly there.

I originally had Gordon Graceffo as the centerpiece of this trade, and maybe that could happen. The Cardinals' farm system has taken some steps forward this year, but it's still regarded as middle of the pack among teams at best. I kind of have a hard time believing that the Cardinals could get away with protecting seven of their top prospects (Hence, Mathews, Hjerpe, Davis, Saggese, Scott, and Roby) and still get this done.

I know there has been buzz to go after a different Rangers starter in Nathan Eovaldi, but to this point, there are conflicting views within the industry regarding whether or not Eovaldi would actually be available. Scherzer, on the other hand, is expected by rival GMs to be a player the Rangers look to cash in on over the next few weeks.

Scherzer has spent the majority of the season on the injured list this year, but in his three starts since returning, he has posted a 2.70 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. His strikeout rate has been significantly lower so far this season, but it is far too early to call that an issue.

It has been well documented that Scherzer has wanted to play for his hometown team in the past, but it is unclear whether or not he would wave his no-trade for them since they pasted on him. I would imagine that at this stage in his career though, going back home and pitching for a contender would be appealing, and I bet the Cardinals would want to extend him following the season.