The St. Louis Cardinals may decide to spend money on a starting pitcher this offseason, but signing any of these players would be a major mistake.
With money to spend this offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals may find themselves handing out some pretty big contracts. Even though fans would love them to spend money, who they spend it on matters a lot.
When it comes to the shortstop market, I detailed out how signing Dansby Swanson would be a huge mistake for St. Louis, although any of the other big name shortstops would be major upgrades. The club appears to be sticking with their internal options as of now.
When it comes to the starting pitching market, St. Louis only has one starter under contract past 2023 in Steven Matz, so acquiring another starter on a multi-year deal would make a lot of sense. What the Cardinals really need though is a front-line starter, and free agency and the trade market have some available.
The Cardinals are being linked to a whole bunch of starters, and each of the following would be a huge mistake if the club signed them to big contracts.
Pitching for the Boston Red Sox since 2018, Nathan Eovaldi was among the best pitchers in the game in 2021, finishing 4th in the AL Cy Young voting after going 11-9 with a 3.75 ERA, accompanied with an AL Leading 2.79 FIP. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden has him linked to the Cardinals and is projecting a 4-year, $90 million contract.
At 32-years old, it is tough to see how paying Eovaldi an AAV of $22.5 million over 4-years would be a wise move for the club. Eovaldi’s only elite season was in 2021, and outside of that, he has been a good, but not great, pitcher. In 2022, his ERA rose to 3.87 and his FIP came crashing back down to earth at 4.30. Not good signs for an aging starter.
On top of that, Eovaldi has had injury concerns throughout his career and once again dealt with them in 2022. Although the starter fits what the Cardinals are looking for in a guy with elite stuff who strikes out batters (average 9.1 K/9 during his time in Boston), the price tag, injury history, and lack of consistency should scare St. Louis away.