The 2023-2024 free agent class is loaded with top-end starters
Between Wainwright, Mikolas, Flaherty, and Montgomery, the Cardinals will have $49.7 million coming off of the books after 2023. Add in other expiring salaries, and that numbers jumps up to close to $70 million.
While some of that money will need to be used toward other roster spots, it’s safe to say John Mozeliak will have an opportunity to go after an ace if he so chooses. Here are just some of the names available next off-season: Aaron Nola, Shohei Ohtani, Max Scherzer, Julio Urias, Yu Darvish, Lucas Giolito, Clayton Kershaw, Blake Snell, Frankie Montas, Lance Lynn, Sonny Gray, and Luis Severino, on top of the Cardinals own starters and others.
While some may look at that list and say there is no way the Cardinals are spending that kind of money, the advantage that St. Louis has here is that with so many high-end starters available, the bidding wars on individual pitchers will not be as drastic as when there are only a few top-end guys available. Even if the Cardinals have to shell out $30 million to an ace, that still leaves them with $40 million to round out other roster spots.
Outside of their rotation guys hitting free agency, the Cardinals do not have any other impact free agents hitting the market. This frees up St. Louis to go after some of that high end talent, knowing that they have plenty of internal options to fill out their roster.
Let’s look at some of those internal options who could fill out the rotation.