No, I'm not about to try and say that Steven Matz is now some incredible number-three starter for your rotation. And before you say that's how the Cardinals are going to view him now, I highly doubt that as well.
But Matz has proven since his demotion to the bullpen that he belongs in the Cardinals' 2024 rotation. Check out these stats that Brandon Kiley shared the other day.
For those keeping track at home, that is a 1.65 ERA since returning to the rotation for Matz, and opponents have a batting average of just .192 off of him. If you go even further back to when Matz was demoted to the bullpen, he has a 2.03 ERA and .202 OBA.
Our own Sandy McMcillian did a deep dive into Matz's resurgence, which I highly recommend checking out here.
Matz has not only pitched himself back into the conversation for a rotation spot in 2024, but I think the Cardinals can confidently place Matz in their number four spot, which will make it easier for them to fill out their rotation for next season.
How so? Well if Matz is your number four and Mikoals is your number three, then you only need to figure out your number one, two, and five starters for next season. One of those front-line guys can come via free agency, and then they can use either free agency or trade to acquire the other guy. The number five spot can be a low-cost free agent, trade target, or internal option.