The Milwaukee Brewers reclaimed possession of the National League Central division in 2023 after the St. Louis Cardinals were the division champions in 2022. St. Louis entered the year as the favorites, but they quickly fell out of contention and sold several key pieces via trade. One area that they need to address this off-season is starting pitching and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has a goal of adding three of them prior to opening day in 2024.
Players don’t officially become free agents until the day after the final game of the World Series and teams cannot sign players until five days afterwards. However the Cardinals are already eyeing up players that they are interested in pursuing. One recent report suggests that they plan on targeting two of the premiere free agent starting pitchers.
Milwaukee Brewers NL Central division rival the St. Louis Cardinals are showing interest in starting pitchers Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals have identified Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray as two pitchers they would like to target in free agency. He also indicated that St. Louis feels as if they would be good fits for their organization and plan to find out if the feeling is mutual.
Aaron Nola is currently in the middle of the National League Divisional Series with the Philadelphia Phillies, but will be a free agent for the first time in his career once the postseason concludes. The 30 year old is coming off a 2023 regular season that consisted of 32 games started, 193.2 innings pitched, a 4.46 ERA, and 202 strikeouts. His market value according to spotrac is listed at $24.5 MM.
Similar to Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray is currently in the playoffs and despite being 34 years old will be entering free agency for the first time in his career. With the Minnesota Twins this year he posted a 2.79 ERA over 32 starts and 184 innings pitched. His 2.83 FIP and 0.4 HR:9 were league bests this year and spotrac has his market value at $20.3 MM.
Both Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray should receive qualifying offers from their respective ball clubs. This means that should the St. Louis Cardinals, or any other team, be fortunate enough to sign either of them that they would have to give up $500K in international bonus money and their second-highest pick in the 2024 draft as compensation.
It will be interesting to see if the St. Louis Cardinals will be able to snag either one of these players in free agency or not. There will be a high abundance of quality starting pitchers available in free agency this winter with Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray being near the top of the class.
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