Known St. Louis Cardinals free-agent target Steven Matz could sign before Thanksgiving.
Early in the offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals were connected to left-handers Andrew Heaney and Steven Matz. Heaney was the first pitcher to sign, inking a one-year deal with the Dodgers, and Matz may not be far behind.
Matz hopes to sign before Thanksgiving, as written on FanSided, with the Toronto Blue Jays remaining in talks. Other teams connected to Matz throughout the offseason include the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs.
There are surely other teams that will be in on Matz, but he is one of the most intriguing pitchers remaining on the market. But a primary reason his market is so active, and will result in him signing before Thanksgiving, is that he was not given the qualifying offer, meaning teams do not have to part with a draft pick to sign him.
For a team like the Cardinals, that’s valuable. They want to build a sustainable winning team and having top draft picks is key. But having a pitcher like Matz, who is coming off a season in which he posted a 3.82 ERA in 29 games, would solidify their rotation for the next few seasons — which is something they struggled with in 2021 as they dealt with a plethora of injuries.
Matz, 30, fits the Cardinals’ desire to add a ground ball pitcher. He posted a 45.6 groundball rate in 2021, up from 33.3 percent in 2020, though his rate this past season is in line with his career averages. It plays hand in hand with their elite infield defense and should they ultimately sign Matz, his numbers should benefit from it, perhaps even more so than Jon Lester and J.A. Happ did last season.
It’s unclear what kind of contract Matz will sign, but it’s likely to be a lucrative multi-year deal given the current prices on the pitching market. But the Cardinals have prioritized addressing their pitching staff, both starters and relievers, and Matz should fit their price point.