The Cardinals PoBO John Mozelaik said a few weeks ago that St Louis would be pursuing three pitchers this off-season. While they have been linked to several Free Agents, any thinking that St Louis will spend the money needed in Free Agency to acquire three pitchers is just a pipe dream. Now, they could go for"low-hanging fruit." But if they are going to do any significant upgrade to the pitching staff, they will have to spend money and make a trade or two!
A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted some Free Agents. This week, I thought I would look at some trade options.
Dylan Cease (28 Chicago White Sox)
I said it last year and will say it again a top rotation target SHOULD BE Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox. Yes, I know he took a big step back from 2022. His ERA doubled from 2.20 to 4.58. His WHIP climbed as well, from 1.109 to 1.418.
His walks and Strikeouts, however, stayed relatively the same. He had 78 walks last year, 79 this season, 227 K's last year, and 214 this year. He was more hittable this season, allowing 172 hits, up from 126 last year, but only 19 HRs, just 3 more than last year. His innings also slightly dropped from 185 last season to 177 this year. He is a high strikeout pitcher consistently in the double-digit K/9 ratios. A quick look at his short career numbers would indicate that this year could be an outlier.
He is only 27 and under contract until 2026. So, he would be more than just a rental. The White Sox would want a return on investment. They need help in a few areas, RF and a power bat, and they would probably require a pitching prospect or two. Right away, you are talking names like O'Neill, Carlson, Burleson, Nootbaar, and Gorman, along with prospects like Graceffo, Hjerpe, Kolffenstien, and even Hence. I think it would ultimately be one of either O'Neill or Gorman. one of either Carlson, Burleson, or Nootbaar, and two pitching prospects will be as cheap as St Louis could get away with.
Louis Castillo (30 Seattle Mariners)
Many people are interested in Logan Gilbert or George Kirby from the Seattle Mariners. But I see it as unlikely either will be traded. One guy that could be a more obtainable target is Louis Castillo. Now, all three have put up strikingly similar numbers, but Castillo stands out with the most wins: 14, the most innings pitched 197 pitched, The lowest ERA at 3.34, the most Ks 219, (10 Ks per 9 innings a team-high). He does have the highest WHIP of the three at 1.096. So why would Seattle entertain the thought of moving him?
First, he is 30 years old, and they still would have a solid rotation with up-and-comers Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo, and they have Marco Gonzalez coming back after season-ending surgery. Castillo is under contract until 2028, which means. They would more than likely want controllable players. They could use a power bat at DH and help at Second Base, which brings us to Goman and Donovan.
The Cardinals might be able to make a case for newly acquired farmhand Thomas Saggese in a package that contains Donovan and possibly Burleson or a top prospect such as Chase Davis or Victor Scott. I doubt you see Seattle taking Tyler O'Neill, Tommy Edman, or Dylan Carlson without multiple controllable prospects.
Tyler Glasnow (29, Tampa Bay Rays)
A lot of people like Tyler Glasnow. He is risky but could pay big dividends. Given his injury issues, I don't think he is a dependable #1. He is a #3 borderline #2. When he is on the mound, he is usually pretty good, again when he is on the mound. He is a high-strike-out pitcher (12.2 Ks per 9IP) who doesn't give up the long ball (13 HRs in 21 games)—a solid 3.53 ERA coupled with a 1.083 WHIP. Two things could make him a reasonable target for St Louis and not give up a ton. First, he is a free Agent in 2025, so he is a rental. Second, Tampa has a team option of a $25 Million contract for next year.
Tampa may want top dollar but are not likely to get it. They could enhance the return by eating $5 to $10 Million of Glasgow's contract. The Rays could use a second baseman and a Center fielder. They could be interested in some of the near-ready MLB pitching or young MLB pitching, like Thompson, Liberatore, or Graceffo. So they could ask for Nootbaar, Edman, Donovan, Gorman, and Carlson. Prospects like Saggese, Richie Palacios, or Ceasar Prieto could also be in play. If St Louis has to take on the total of $25 Million, I don't see many MLB names leaving the Cardinal's roster.
Kevin Gausman (32 Toronto Blue Jays)
Gausman is another pitcher I thought would have worked in St. Louis for several years. He seems to be one of those guys that, like fine wine or good whiskey, gets better with age. For most of his career, he has been in the low to high 4s with his ERA, an average WHIP of 1.3, and a K per 9 of around 8. Since 2020, he has stepped up his game with an ERA of 3.15, WHIP of 1.145, and a K per 9 of 11. Gausman is a Free Agent in 2027. He could be a solid #2 starter. The Blue Jays could use help in the outfield and at 3B if they lose Matt Chapman to Free Agency. Brendan Donovan or Nolan Gorman would be options here. With Gausman under control until 2027, Names like Nootbaar and Burleson and any number of prospects also come into play.
Well, that's all for now. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
Or contact me on X at @tsotbgcs or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to tune into my podcast Talking Sports on the Bleachers. This week, I will have JD Hafron from the Locked on Cardinals podcast and Daniel Shoptaw from the Meet Me at the Musial podcast discussing what else the Cardinals do.
See you soon!