3 players the Cardinals wish they signed last offseason, 1 they are glad they didn't

The St. Louis Cardinals were pretty quiet last offseason. Here are the players excelling in 2023 they could have signed.
Jun 15, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) pitches in
Jun 15, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) pitches in / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cardinals sure could have used Nathan Eovaldi this year

While other names dominated the press at the top of the starting pitching free agent market last offseason like Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon (more on the latter here in a bit), Nathan Eovaldi was lurking as an intriguing option. Ultimately, he would end up signing with Rangers on a deal that can be worth up to three years and $63 million if he hits all of his incentive targets.

So far, that is looking like an absolute steal for Texas in 2023. In 17 starts this season, Eovaldi has posted a 2.64 ERA with 106 strikeouts in 112.1 innings of work. He is already at 3.1 bWAR in the first half of the season. It isn't an exaggeration to suggest that if the Cardinals had signed him and he did THIS, that this team could be in contention at the top of the division.

Some amount of caution did need to exercised with Eovaldi to be fair. He has a track record of having trouble staying on the field. However, the way the Rangers structured his deal protected the team from giving him that third year unless he hits certain innings requirements for 2023-24. That sure seems like a deal that the Cardinals could have lived with and, frankly, should have offered given how good Eovaldi had been with Boston.

Chris Bassitt would have been a nice signing for the Cardinals last offseason

Lets assume for whatever reason that a guy like Eovaldi was asking for way too much given his injury history and the Cardinals had no interest in doing a short term megadeal for Verlander. They still had another option on the free agent market for a starter in Chris Bassitt. Bassitt has been a steady producer for years and he ended up signing a three year, $63 million deal with Toronto.

Has Bassitt been as good with the Blue Jays in 2023 as he was with Oakland and the Mets? Nope, or at least not yet as his 4.06 ERA has corresponded with a jump in his walk rate this season. However, this is a guy that been basically a mortal lock for a mid-3 ERA for several years now. He wouldn't have had to be an ace to contribute in this Cardinals rotation that has stunk up their season so far and the odds are that he will be a valuable rotation arm for the next few years.