3 pending free agents the St. Louis Cardinals should avoid

The desperate need for pitching is going to be the mindset for the Cardinals' front office this winter, but which free agents should they steer away from?

Los Angeles Angels v St. Louis Cardinals
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1. Philadelphia Phillies right hander Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola has been a dependable pitcher for almost a decade with the Phillies organization, but he will be hitting free agency after this season and he should get a lot of suitors.

No doubt there are some positives with Nola, he has always been an innings eater who takes the ball every 5th day and gives his team a chance to win. And despite not throwing with a lot of velocity, he is on pace to have his 8th consecutive season with a K/9 rate above 9. Here is where I begin to worry about the Cardinals getting Nola.

In the last 3 seasons, Nola has a combined ERA over 4, and in this season specifically, he has allowed 29 home runs, already a career-high with a month left in the season, and adding that to a career-low ground ball rate is concerning. Last season, Nola had the lowest BB/9 rate in baseball, but this year it has gone back up to about where he's been in his career (career 2.4 BB/9). And as I mentioned before with his ability to strike hitters out, he's still averaging over a K an inning this year, but he is on pace to have his lowest K/9 since 2015.

Some may think that the elevated ERA and the home runs allowed are because he pitches half his games at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, known to be a hitters-friendly ballpark, but he's actually pitched much better at home in his career. Nola is 50-27 with a 3.18 ERA at Citizens Bank, and in every other ballpark he's 40-43 with a 4.20 ERA, those are significant splits, maybe he's just more comfortable pitching in the " friendly confines ". But I think the Cardinals can go for a younger more controllable starter that is more likely to switch teams this winter.