Cardinals Rumors: St. Louis interested in Steven Matz

The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly interested in free-agent left-hander Steven Matz.

The theme of the St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason, at least to this point, has been pitching, pitching and more pitching.

They have been connected to Max Scherzer, who is open to a deal that would bring him back to Missouri. They were interested in Andrew Heaney before he signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are now interested in free-agent left-hander Steven Matz, according to Tim Healey of Newsday, who adds that Matz was at the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. to meet with interested teams that include the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Dodgers.

Unlike Scherzer, Matz fits their budget and should he sign with the Cardinals, would allow them to upgrade other parts of the roster. MLB Trade Rumors projected him to sign a three-year, $27 million deal coming off a nice year for the Toronto Blue Jays in which he posted a 3.82 ERA in 150.2 innings.

What makes Matz appealing is that he did not receive a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays, which came to the surprise of many baseball people, and means that he will not require the Cardinals — or any other team — to part with a draft pick to sign him. He would also fit seamlessly into the No. 3 spot in the rotation, which Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the team is looking to fill this winter with Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright being locked in atop the rotation.

The market is surprisingly active to start the winter and with Heaney off the board, Matz could be the next left-handed starting pitcher to come off the board. If the $9 million average annual value projection listed above turns out to be accurate, it would be a coup for the Cardinals — and would make their rotation a strength headed into 2022 with Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson pencilled into the backend of the unit.