Zack Greinke has been one of my favorite players in baseball for the last decade. He is quirky, he is a contender, and he is a good pitcher. Greinke's past few seasons don't quite measure up to his career statistics, but make no mistake, Zack Greinke is a first-ballot Hall of Fame pitcher.
He has racked up 77.5 bWAR, he has a Cy Young Award, he has finished in the top-10 of voting multiple times, he has a handful of Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger award, and six All-Star appearances. When looking at his Baseball Reference page, you'll see a splattering of bold and italicized stats.
Last year, Greinke had a 2-15 record with a 5.06 ERA in 142.1 innings. He played for the abysmal Kansas City Royals, so feel free to disregard his 2023 record. Greinke doesn't strike out batters often anymore, he doesn't have the velocity or power curveball he once had, but what he does well is avoiding walks. His 3.9% walk rate last year placed him in the 98th percentile among pitchers.
A signing of Zack Greinke would not move the needle on the Cardinals' 2024 season. It wouldn't benefit the team much at all. However, Greinke on the Cardinals would allow us fans to see great interviews, hear weird stories, and see another Hall of Famer leave the sport with the Birds on the Bat.
A signing of Brandon Woodruff has more utility for the St. Louis Cardinals than a Zack Greinke signing. Woodruff was non-tendered a contract by the Milwaukee Brewers due to his shoulder surgery that will keep him on the Injured List through at least the summer and possibly all of 2024. The reason the Cardinals would sign Brandon Woodruff knowing he can't pitch this year is to lock him up for 2025.
Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn have options on their contracts for 2025; it is likely the Cardinals exercise those, opening up two rotation spots next year. Brandon Woodruff has shown flashes of greatness throughout his seven-year career with Milwaukee. His best season, 2021, featured him finishing with a 2.56 ERA, 2.96 FIP, and 211 strikeouts in 179.1 innings. He has never pitched more than 179.1 innings, but with Sonny Gray and Miles Mikolas as "innings eaters", the Cardinals can take a flier on one starter in 2025 who has the potential to be an ace.