The Cardinals’ rotation today will likely be the one you see on Opening Day.
The St. Louis Cardinals have been connected to top free-agent starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi in recent weeks, even after president of baseball operations John Mozeliak publicly stated that the team was likely done adding players on major-league contracts.
But the Cardinals appear unlikely for Odorizzi, who is seeking a multi-year contract, and are likely to enter the season with the pitchers currently on the roster. And Mozeliak said in a recent interview with Ben Fredrickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is perfectly OK with that.
“I think the strength of this rotation is not to think about it solely as five names, but to think about the depth of it,” Mozeliak said. “We are going to have the ability to be flexible in a time where being flexible might be critical for success.”
The Cardinals have four clear starting pitchers, with Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright and Kwang-hyun Kim. After that, the Cardinals have Alex Reyes and the organization remains high on him. Carlos Martinez impressed while pitching this winter and has a shot at making meaningful starts.
Other options include Daniel Ponce de Leon, who has many fans in rival front offices. Johan Oviedo and Jake Woodford both have limited major-league experience and could see starts this season.
There are a number of relievers who have the ability to eat innings, too. That doesn’t even include Matthew Liberatore and Zack Thompson, two pitching prospects the organization is extremely high on. It means that the Cardinals have the ability to get creative — and in a season which teams are concerned about their pitchers ramping up from 60 to 162 games, it puts the team in an ideal position.
“There are a lot of ways it could go,” Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch said, via Fredrickson.
The door is open for further additions at the trade deadline, of course. But unless Odorizzi’s asking price comes down, this is the rotation the Cardinals will enter the season with whether you like it or not.