The St. Louis Cardinals were never signing Marcus Stroman
The St. Louis Cardinals were never signing Marcus Stroman, and here’s why.
The player that most St. Louis Cardinals fans wanted in free agency was Marcus Stroman. He fit their biggest need (starting pitcher) and was arguably the second best starter on the market behind Max Scherzer. He fueled the fire by giving a shout out to Cardinals fans at the beginning of free agency.
But Stroman was never coming to St. Louis.
Would Stroman have been open to it? Of course. But he was seeking a financial commitment that the Cardinals were not willing to pay. While they eventually signed left-hander Steven Matz to a four-year, $44 million deal, Stroman sought – and eventually signed a deal – worth three years, $71 million, so more than double the average annual value of Matz’s contract.
So the Cardinals had to make a decision: is Stroman worth double the money as Matz? Would they prefer Stroman or Matz and an additional reliever or two? The answer became obvious early in the offseason, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, and why they signed Matz – to have that additional flexibility.
As Goold points out, with suitors for Stroman signing other free-agent starters, his asking price had to have come down. After all, he signed for three years when Robbie Ray and Kevin Gausman secured five year commitments. But a near $25 million average annual value was something the Cardinals were never willing to offer.
Did the Cardinals make the right choice in signing Matz for 1/2 the cost of Stroman and ¼ the cost of Scherzer? That’s something that will be debated all season. But we won’t have the answer to that question until free agency plays itself out and we see who they sign with the money they saved by not signing Stroman or Scherzer.
But it seems like neither were ever realistic options – and they appear more than happy with Matz, who they feel has the upside to be even better than he was in Toronto.