The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly targeting another starting pitcher in free agency.
In an offseason that was expected to prominently feature the St. Louis Cardinals’ pursuit of a top-tier shortstop, it has been anything but that. They have seemingly been connected to every free-agent starting pitcher imaginable.
Max Scherzer. Marcus Stroman. Steven Matz. Alex Wood. Alex Cobb. You name a starting pitcher and the Cardinals have likely been connected to them.
So it’s no surprise that the Cardinals are prioritizing adding another starting pitcher, specifically a No. 3 arm to slot into the rotation, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, with the team’s preference being a sinkerballer that will thrive behind their elite defense.
If the Cardinals want a No. 3 starter, that would seem to eliminate Scherzer and Stroman. Perhaps even Matz. It would leave them with Wood and Cobb as the two best options of the reported bunch and both happen to be sinkerballers who induce plenty of ground balls. Wood, who pitched very well for the Giants and has an extensive relationship with Farhan Zaidi, may be likely to return to San Francisco on a multi-year deal.
Which leaves Cobb as a potential option. The 34-year-old posted a 3.76 ERA in 18 starts with the Angels last season and should command a mid-tier level one-year deal. But he comes with questions, specifically whether or not he can stay healthy (he’s made 31 starts since 2019), and that was the theme of the Cardinals’ 2021 rotation.
Whether that takes him out of the question, or gives the Cardinals pause in their potential pursuit, remains unclear. But it’s clear that the team is serious about upgrading all parts of the roster, especially the rotation, and if they want to address it in a big way, that may mean spending on Stroman.
Because they can’t risk having the same injury problems or struggles that they did in 2021. Not in a season that will be World Series or bust.