The 2023-24 offseason is shaping up to be a big one for the Cardinals.
Gone are the days when they could scoot on by with bargain moves to fill their needs. The past several years have proven that things need to change in St. Louis. While the offseason is still weeks away from beginning, it appears as though things will finally change in the Gateway to the West.
We've already heard rumblings and rumors of what the Cardinals are going to do this winter. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently revealed that both Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray are on the Cardinals' radar and that they would be pitchers the team would pursue.
However, those rumors were taken a step further on Sunday thanks to a piece from Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. According to Nightengale, the Cardinals appear to be zeroing in on their top free-agent target. Nightengale notes that the Cardinals are expected to "strongly pursue" Gray.
Gray, who will be 34 years old by Opening Day next year, posted a 2.79 ERA with the Twins in 32 starts. That's the second-best ERA in the American League behind Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.
The veteran right-hander's showing against the defending champion Astros in the ALDS was poor, as he allowed four earned runs over just four innings, but he pitched well against the Blue Jays in the Wild Card round, tossing five scoreless innings.
As we've discussed on the site, Gray likely won't receive a mega deal given his age, which would put him right in the Cardinals' preferred price range. More than likely, a deal of three to four years is what Gray will command.
He obviously won't come cheap, but a three to four-year deal is something the Cardinals should be able to do. And based on reports, it appears as though Gray is going to be the team's top target this coming winter.
Gray certainly fits the mold of an ace, which is what the Cards are so desperate for. He'd be a good pickup for sure, and personally, I feel like he's the best option.
But he can't be the only pitcher the Cardinals sign, even as far as ace-type pitchers go. In a perfect world, the Cardinals would be able to sign both Gray and Aaron Nola, which is something I'm not sure they'll be able to accomplish.
The good thing is, the Cardinals appear to have their No. 1 target in mind. He just can't be their only addition.