Cardinals: Ranking the 10 worst contracts in the National League Central Division

The NL Central, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, generally doesn't have a ton of bad contracts, however, no organization is immune to mistakes. Today, we'll sift through the worst deals in the division!
Steven Matz faces the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium
Steven Matz faces the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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10) Steven Matz

I'm the conductor of the Steven Matz hype train. He's been so excellent over the last few weeks that he almost got left off this list. He's been the guy many hoped he could be back when the Cardinals signed him in late 2021. That deal was a four-year contract worth $44MM. Matz had an awful debut but righted the ship before an injury derailed his 2022 season. When he finally returned, another injury knocked him out for six more weeks. Matz returned in a bullpen role and quietly closed out a tough first season in St. Louis.

In 2023, Matz again opened poorly. An implosion against the Royals in May was enough to necessitate a move to the bullpen. There, Matz found his confidence and since returning, he's been nothing short of excellent. In his seven starts, the Cardinals are 6-1. Matz has pitched to a microscopic 1.86 ERA over that time and has kept the Cardinals in every game he's appeared in. His season totals look great too. Matz now has the lowest ERA of any Cardinals starter, as his mark currently sits at 3.86. He's been about as good as he was in Toronto, meaning the Cardinals are getting exactly what they paid for.

So why does he round out this list? Matz was hit with yet another trip to the IL yesterday. With the rest of his season in jeopardy, it's no longer easy to pencil his name into the 2024 rotation. The injury may cost him much of the leeway he's earned with fans and executives alike over the last two months.


Hopefully, Matz's trip to the IL is quick, and he returns in September to post more excellent results. A serious injury could even impact 2024, cementing Matz's status as an injury-riddled bust. Additional testing awaits, and while it certainly determines how Matz's 2023 season ends, it may also determine how his tenure with the Cardinals is remembered.