A desire to add three starting pitchers this offseason should be paramount for John Mozeliak. These additions can be achieved through trades or free-agent signings. There are plenty of options in both of these departments. The Cardinals could sign players like Sonny Gray and Martin Perez, then trade for a pitcher from Seattle or Miami. They could open up the checkbook for someone like Aaron Nola or Blake Snell then sign a low-end free agent while trading for another pitcher such as Tyler Glasnow. Perhaps, the Cardinals could even swing two trades while maintaining their depth and sign a player like Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Gaining three new starters is a tall task. It will require a lot of resources in both the personnel and financial departments. Mozeliak will have to get creative to fill out a rotation in 2024. Should management fall short of their goal, the Cardinals may have to settle for less than three pitchers from outside and instead hope their internal improvements can rise to the challenge of being the fifth pitcher in the rotation.
That was partially the plan for 2023: hope Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, Jack Flaherty, and Jordan Montgomery can play to their full potential and then rely on pitchers such as Matthew Liberatore and Zack Thompson to fill in when someone got hurt. Underperformance and injuries hampered an already below-average bullpen, and the backup options didn't perform as well as expected.
Zack Thompson had adjusted to being a reliever, and his secondary pitches weren't in tune; Matthew Liberatore didn't quite reach the velocity that is necessary to get batters to whiff, and his mechanics weren't as consistent as he would have wanted. If the front office can't acquire three starters this year, the team will have to rely on internal options to step up and fill in innings.