St. Louis Cardinals: Six free agents the team must pursue if 2020 matters
By Matt Graves
Gerrit Cole, SP
In the presumed absence of Michael Wacha and the current question mark of Adam Wainwright‘s future in 2020, the Cardinals will have a rotation spot open. In all likelihood, this spot will be filled internally, but the St. Louis Cardinals need to at least consider what the two World Series teams could teach them.
What this means is the team needs to find a friend for Jack Flaherty at the top. That friend should be none other than Gerrit Cole. Our old friend from Pittsburgh is currently on the Astros and if you’ve been watching the World Series, you have been seeing Cole at his absolute best.
After moving to the Astros in 2018, he has been unleashed by their pitching coaches. With a combined 2.58 ERA, 0.962 WHIP, and an amazing 164 ERA+ over his two years in Houston, he is the top pitcher on the market. He was even better than Jack Flaherty last year and while his price tag at the age of 29 is going to be astronomical, adding him would make the rotation the best in the NL Central.
Madison Bumgarner, SP
This would definitely be a step down from Gerrit Cole, but it’d be a definite upgrade from Michael Wacha at the 3-4 spot in the rotation. While the innings were there for Bumgarner in 2019, the performance went down for him.
His “down” year was still 200+ innings and a 3.90 ERA, but he had his lowest ERA+ since 2012. It may not have been his best year, but his value is certainly down but as a bulldog innings eater and a leader for the Giants, he provides more value than only what’s on the stat sheet.
The biggest problem with Bumgarner is the fact that he’s 30 already and with seven years of 200+ innings already on his arm, the last three years have seen his production decline and injuries pop up. If the deal is short enough, I would love Madbum. If you have to give him five years, I would stay away.