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.