What to expect from Cardinals' internal pitching options in 2024

John Mozeliak has said the team plans to add three starting pitchers this offseason. That's a tall task. There are still some internal options that can help in the rotation.
St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers
St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages
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LHP Matthew Liberatore

The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Matthew Liberatore back in January 2020 for Randy Arozarena from the Tampa Bay Rays. That trade hasn't gone in the Cardinals' favor as of yet, and fans are already labeling it as one of the worst trades in franchise history. The former first-round pick had a lot of pressure on him to slide into the starting rotation in the near future.

Libby has experienced mixed results in his professional career. In the majors, Liberatore has a 5.51 ERA, 1.567 WHIP, and a strikeout rate south of 19% with a walk rate north of 16%. Those numbers are not serviceable in the major leagues, and they do not align with what he did in the minors. He is still 23 years old, so he has plenty of time to develop and become more accustomed to professional hitters.

In the minors, Liberatore has a 3.99 ERA, 1.315 WHIP, and struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings while limiting walks slightly more than he has in the majors. His curveball is perhaps his best pitch, and his fastball has always always been in the mid-90s. He has a consistent delivery, and he was once capable of leading a starting staff. However, his stuff has simply not transferred to the majors as it should have.

Handing the 5th spot in the rotation to Liberaotre probably raises the ceiling of the starting staff, but it surely lowers the floor. Given Libby's penchant for walks and struggles with striking out batters, he may be best served in the minor leagues or as a trade piece.