The St. Louis Cardinals rotation is in flux, to say the least. With Adam Wainwright likely retiring after the season, and only Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz under contract beyond 2023, John Mozeliak has more questions than answers.
Matthew Liberatore is likely one of those answers. The former top prospect has had glimpses of success at the MLB level, and he'll have every opportunity to earn a back-end rotation spot in spring training. However, Liberatore went down with an injury of late, making way for Jacob Barnes.
Who the heck is Jacob Barnes, you might ask? I'm glad you asked. For those familiar with Immaculate Grid, Barnes should serve as a regular answer (perhaps not at the level of Edwin Jackson), who is now playing for his seventh team. Barnes previously played for the Royals, Angels, Mets, Blue Jays, Tigers and Yankees.
Barnes is 33 years old, and has 252 big-league appearance to the tune of a 4.70 ERA. By no means is he an All-Star, but Barnes can add some depth in the Cardinals bullpen and receive his big-league cup of coffee in 2023. If he performs well, who knows? Maybe he won't have to wait until August to receive meaningful MLB appearances next year.
What are the St. Louis Cardinals rotation plans?
Per Bob Nightengale, the Cards plan to chase some of the best free-agent starters this offseason. That includes Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Julio Urais and more. Logan Gilbert was a trade target of Mozeliak at the deadline.
Yet, none of those options are all that likely for a team averse to long-term contracts for free-agent starters. Gilbert, meanwhile would cost quite a bit on the trade market. Seattle should make the postseason this year, would they really want to trade a potential top-of-the-rotation starter under team control?
The Cards have questions, and Barnes is the perfect option for a team counting the days until the end of the regular season.