Cardinals bolster rotation by adding 2023 AL Cy Young finalist

With a pitching rotation full of question marks, the St. Louis Cardinals made a major improvement to it on Monday by landing free-agent pitcher Sonny Gray.

Agreeing to a three-year, $75M deal, Gray was a finalist for the 2023 American League Cy Young Award, going 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 184 innings pitched for the Minnesota Twins

Since 2019, the 34-year-old has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball, going 39-33 with a 3.22 ERA while striking out 732 batters in 670.1 innings pitching for the Cincinnati Reds and the Twins. 

A three-time All-Star, Gray added a sweeper in 2023 that was ranked as one of the best pitches in baseball, and has showed no signs of regression with his stuff entering his 12th season. 

Only two pitchers were left from the Opening Day rotation in St. Louis coming into the offseason, so the Cardinals addressed that issue early signing pitchers Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson to deals before making the big splash with Gray. 

These three additions are joined by returning Cardinals pitchers Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz in the rotation, but the Cardinals are very likely to still be in the market for another arm. 

Both of their previous signings can be viewed as wild cards, with Lynn coming off a historically bad season that the Cardinals will hope he can rebound from in his return to St. Louis and Gibson being nothing more than a league-average at best pitcher for most of his 11-year career. 

With the free-agent market starting to heat up, the Cardinals also have plenty of pieces to swing a trade for another starter if the opportunity arises.

After a disappointing 71-91 finish in 2023 after opening the year as the favorite to win the division, the Cardinals still need to address the bullpen and the logjams they have at numerous positions if they want to be successful in 2024. 

Gray is a great start, but look for more moves to be made as the Cardinals aim to recapture the National League Central crown in 2024.

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