May 28, 2024

The Cardinals came into this offseason with plenty of work to do but have already accomplished a lot.

In a span of less than a week, St. Louis signed Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn to fill out the open spots in their rotation. All three pitchers can give the Cardinals ample innings, something they lacked in 2023 on their way to a 91-loss campaign.

All of this also came prior to the Winter Meetings, which makes the rest of the offseason a little bit easier for the Cardinals as they shift their focus to the bullpen.

That’s an encouraging sign, as it shows that John Mozeliak was willing to be aggressive.

However, even with the innings seemingly covered for 2024, the Cardinals’ rotation is full of question marks. In this piece, we’ll discuss the rotation and whether or not it can hold up for the entire season.

Can the Cardinals’ rotation hold up?

When examining the Cardinals rotation, there are a few red flags that pop up.

Firstly, the youngest member of the rotation is Steven Matz, who will be turning 33 years old next season, and he has struggled to stay healthy. When he was healthy this past season, he pitched pretty well, turning things around after a terrible start and finishing with a 3.86 ERA.

But the Cardinals need him healthy this coming season.

Gray is the least of my worries, as he finished second in the Cy Young voting in the American League, posting an ERA of 2.79. But he is also 34 years old.

Miles Mikolas had a bad year and will be turning 36 next year. The Cardinals will need a bounce-back season from him.

To me, the major X-factors for the Cardinals in 2024 are Mikolas, Lynn, and Gibson. Gibson is a solid fifth starter and likely won’t dominate but will at least be serviceable. Mikolas can log innings, and if he bounces back and produces a season more akin to his 2022 campaign, he could be the No. 2 starter.

Lynn is turning 37 this coming May and is coming off a year in which he posted a 5.73 ERA and gave up the most home runs in all of baseball. That’s a bit concerning.

He’ll need to cut down on the home runs in order to bounce back. But one good thing about Lynn is that he has swing-and-miss stuff, which is something that St. Louis lacked. He and Gray can provide that.

It remains to be seen if Lynn’s 2023 season was just a fluke or the beginning of a trend. Once again, the Cardinals are banking on a lot to go right with this rotation. But if Lynn cuts down on the home runs, he could return to his 2022 form and project as a No. 3 starter.

Again, one of the major keys is that these guys will be able to give the Cardinals innings coverage. Even with all the red flags, the rotation is much better than it was in 2023. However, in order to be a World Series contender, the Cardinals need one more top-level guy.

They could try to trade for Dylan Cease now or add somebody at the trade deadline to supplement the rotation. In my opinion, this is a serviceable rotation and could get the Cardinals to the playoffs.

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