According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are already expected to pursue both Sonny Gray and Aaron Nola. To that I say, sign me up.
It’s obvious what the Cardinals need to do. The pitching staff is in shambles. In fact, the entire organization is in shambles after a 71-91 season. It’s gotten so bad that John Mozeliak was booed during Adam Wainwright’s retirement ceremony, and rightfully so.
However, the reports are indicating that Gray and Nola are both on the Cardinals radar.
And so you might ask, what should we make of this? There are several ways one can react here.
From my point of view, there’s reason to be skeptical. The Cardinals brazenly claimed that they would be raising payroll last offseason. They didn’t raise the payroll, but rather kept gaslighting fans by saying they did.
However, they have constantly stated that they need pitching and that they need to do things differently. It’s about time they acknowledged that. But actions speak louder than words.
I will say this. It’s encouraging to hear that the Cardinals are already looking into Nola and Gray, and I can’t help but dream about a rotation that features both of those two and potentially even somebody like Jordan Montgomery.
But I also don’t want to get my hopes up, and I think a lot of the fanbase is feeling the same way. By “doing things differently,” I would assume they mean that money must be spent. Mozeliak even stated as much before the trade deadline. But when it comes to spending money, I actually am confident that they understand it’s time to go after a top-level pitcher.
Still, the Cardinals need two, and all the usual suspects will be bidding for aces. Personally, I’m worried about the Cardinals being able to contend with teams like the Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers, Padres, Red Sox, Mets, Giants, Cubs, and other big-market teams.
In my opinion, Gray will likely be more affordable than Nola given his age, and probably won’t be getting a deal more than three or four years. But going after Nola is going to be a completely different story.
To be clear, I’m not saying the Cardinals shouldn’t try for Nola. They absolutely should, but given Mo’s track record, can we be sure that they’ll actually be able to outbid these teams?
That’s going to be incredibly hard, and that’s why it might be premature to get our hopes up.