The St. Louis Cardinals are said to be pursuing “multiple starting pitchers,” according to Nick Deeds of MLB Trade Rumors. One name frequently connected to the Cardinals has been Sonny Gray, who finished second in Cy Young voting (and 18th in MVP voting) with the Minnesota Twins last season.
For a while, St. Louis was considered as a favorite destination for Philadelphia Phillies ace Aaron Nola. While the two sides talked, an offer was never made, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Nola signed a seven-year contract with Philadelphia, taking one star pitcher off the market. As the clock ticks, the Cardinals — who emptied out the bullpen at the trade deadline — are expected to swing big for immediate upgrades.
Gray will have a wide range of suitors, so the Cardinals will have to devise a compelling pitch and offer a sizable chunk of cash to bring him to storied Busch Stadium. Gray grew up in Tennessee, so he’s from the south, but the Atlanta Braves are also a pitcher-needy team in the area. The Cardinals will face stiff competition.
If he does opt to sign with the Cardinals, Gray would immediately take over the No. 1 mantle in the rotation. The Cardinals are also linked to Jordan Montgomery and Yoshinobu Yamamoto in Deeds’ report, so that’s not necessarily set in stone. But Gray packs a mean collection of off-speed pitches, encouraging a high ground ball rate (48.0 percent, 77th percentile) and keeping runs off the board. He posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.147 WHIP last season, with a league-best 2.83 FIP. He commands the plate, limits explosive hits, and pitches deep into games.
In short, the Cards would no doubt love to have him and he would make a pronounced difference. Last season’s 71-91 record was a huge disappointment relative to the team’s high preseason expectations. The front office is clearly eager to right the ship quickly.