Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Cardinals Pursue Pitching

Otis Adams

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Adam WainwrightMLB

The Cards are looking for one more starting pitcher and some of the names being tossed around are big ones.

Four spots in the five-man rotation are presumably set with Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, and Dakota Hudson.

The question is whether that fifth name will go on the top, in the middle, or on the bottom of the rotation.

Derrick Goold asked John Mozeliak which direction the club was headed and the answer was the job might go to an internal option like Alex Reyes, Jordan Hicks, Jake Woodford, Johan Oviedo, or Genesis Cabrera.

Rumor has it, the Redbirds are also taking a look outside the organization.

The club was looking at Andrew Heaney, who was in his seventh season as an Angel before moving to the Yankees for part of 2021. Whatever interest the Cardinals had in the left hander evaporated when he signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers for 2022.

The biggest name being batted around is free agent Max Scherzer. Scherzer's potential departure from the Dodgers will potentially benefit the Cardinals by weakening that 2021 powerhouse, though that benefit would be far greater if he is wearing the birds on the bat.

It's difficult to argue that Scherzer, now 37, may not be as overwhelming on the mound as he was when he collected his three Cy Young Awards and earned two seasons with 20 or more wins. He's definitely still a monster on the mound with a career low ERA of 2.46 in 2021 and 15 wins. In his seventh year with the Nationals, Scherzer played the last third of his season for the Dodgers, helping to propel them deep into October baseball. He may not have any more 200-inning seasons, but his addition to the Cardinals would likely make them favorites for the Central and contenders for the NL pennant.

While Scherzer, a Missouri native, has said he is open to signing a contract with the Redbirds, he will be hotly pursued by other teams as well. The Dodgers would like to keep him while Mark Feinsand wrote for MLB.com that the Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, Nationals, Astros, Mets, and Padres will be fighting the Cards for Scherzer.

A rumor with better odds of coming true is that the Cards are interested in the middle-of-the-rotation left hander Steven Matz. Matz managed 14 wins in 2021 with an ERA of 3.82. While acquiring Scherzer might mean a history-making contract, Matz fits easily in the Cardinals' budget.

The National League Central

A recent article of Goold's in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests the National League Central might be a race between the Cardinals and Brewers as the other teams in the division are settling for longer odds of playing October baseball in 2022.

Cards' General Manager Michael Girsch told Goold the meetings with other teams in California were, "Very similar to other GM meetings - a lot of laying of groundwork and talking to teams and talking to agents".

The splash made last week by baseball's biggest agent, Scott Boras, may be at play in the NL Central next season. According to ESPN, Boras spoke to the media about a "noncompetitive cancer" plaguing baseball. He claimed that the Atlanta Braves' recent World Series win is evidence of this cancer, as it would not have taken place had teams not dumped expensive veterans in order to tank and gain draft picks. The Braves snatched up enough of these difference-making players in late summer, transforming the team.

The Central Division Cubs and Reds have been dumping players leaving the Cardinals and Brewers as the only two teams making a real effort to win the division.

When only a handful of teams are competing for the playoffs, Goold argues, an inflation takes place. Strong teams playing intentionally weakened teams leads to those strong teams needing more wins than they used to in order to win their divisions.

Mozeliak's plan make October with 90 wins might need updating.

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Author of Lavatory Reader #1: This Road, now available on Amazon. New Twitter @OtisAdamsWrites. Otis Adams is an award-winning writer with three books under his belt and two dozen awards boxed up in his closet for his screenplays and short fiction. He writes regularly on Medium.com and can be contacted at pithbooks@gmail.com.

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