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Cardinals Injury Setback Creates More Urgency For Deadline Deal

The St. Louis Cardinals have more urgency to trade for a pitcher at the trade deadline after LHP Steven Matz suffered an injury setback. Matz was shut down on June 17, and his timeline for return has moved from late June to August.

Cardinals Injury Setback Creates More Urgency For Deadline Deal

Matz Will Have To Start Over On rehab

After his most recent start in Double-A, Matz experienced more back pain. Cardinals’ manager Olliver Marmol said Matz will have to restart his throwing program after the two-week shutdown. That likely puts his timeline four to six weeks out.

Matz struck out five over three scoreless innings in his last rehab start. He appeared to be heading towards rejoining the Cardinals, but now his timeline is well after the all-star break. Matz made six starts before landing on the IL this season. He had a 6.18 ERA and was 1-2.

The Cardinals have invested heavily in Matz. Going into the 2022 season, Matz signed a four-year $44 million contract. So far, Matz has made just 33 starts in the life of the contract and has spent time on the IL in each of his three seasons with the Cardinals.

Cardinals Interested In A Starter

Cardinals president of baseball operations has repeatedly told reporters the team will be buyers at the trade deadline. On top of the organization’s priority list is a starting pitcher. Matz’s injury presumably makes that desire more urgent.

Mozeliak has been preaching patience with a trade. He points to most teams in the league still in the expanded Wild Card race.

“There’s a lot of parity in this game.” Mozeliak said Sunday on KMOX radio. “There’s a lot of teams that right now still believing they have a chance to get to postseason. What does that do to the trade market, well it makes it uber competitive.”

The Cardinals have several pieces to dangle in front of middling or bottom-of-the-league teams. They will likely look to teams already out of contention, like the Chicago White Sox or Miami Marlins. Both teams have starting pitchers they could move before July’s deadline.

“The best strategy for us is we get some guys back healthy, then we pay attention to what that trade market looks like and if something makes sense for us and we feel like it’s the right fit then we’ll do it,” Mozeliak said.

How The Cardinals Have Filled The Fifth Starter Role

Recently, the Cardinals have been leaning toward lefty starter Andre Pallante. Pallante has made the last five starts through the rotation and is 3-2 with a 4.76 ERA in those starts.

In each of his wins, Pallante has pitched five or more innings. In the two losses, Pallante hasn’t pitched out of the fourth inning.  Pallante has earned the trust of the Cardinals to continue in the rotation.

“I think everybody’s trust in him is growing,” Mozeliak said on KMOX radio on June 16. 

The average age of the Cardinals other four starters, Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, Lance Lynn and Miles Mikolas, is 35.5. While the majority of them have been healthy the last few years, the team is so thin at starting pitchers that any injury to another starter would hurt the team’s chances of staying in the playoff race.

Main Photo Credits: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports


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