Cardinals rumors: MLB insider casts doubt over key free agents

The St. Louis Cardinals are in need of three starting pitchers. However, Katie Woo of The Athletic believes that none of them will be Aaron Nola or Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Free agency has opened up, and soon a plethora of players will start signing with new teams.

This will be a golden opportunity for the Cardinals to strike and add a starting pitcher to their mix. They are going to need three this offseason. The team is expected to explore both the free agent and trade markets.

Several options are available in free agency such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery.

Cardinals fans are hoping and praying that one of Yamamoto or Nola is signed by the team this winter. However, Katie Woo, who covers the Cardinals for The Athletic, cautioned fans to pump the brakes.

On Wednesday morning, Woo appeared on "The Opening Drive" and revealed what her expectations are this offseason.

"Nola and Yamamoto, I don't think they're going to sign either one. I don't even know if Nola is going to leave Philadelphia. I'd be more inclined to think that he would stay there," said Woo.

"I still see the Cardinals as the best suitors for Sonny Gray, and I think when you look at the overall free agent market and who the Cardinals could get, Sonny Gray is probably in that second tier. I do think he'd be a fantastic No. 2 in a rotation."

Unfortunately, it appears unlikely that the Cardinals will land either Nola or Yamamoto, which won't ring well with fans who know that the Cardinals need two top-tier pitchers.

Gray could certainly serve as a number one and be a huge addition to the Cardinals. But fans want more, especially after hearing John Mozeliak say that the team needs three starting pitchers.

However, Woo did not shut down the idea of the Cardinals still adding a number one starter but stated it's more than likely going to come via a trade. Options such as Dylan Cease and Shane Bieber could be had if the Cardinals are willing to listen to offers for their young position players.

In all likelihood, there is no way that a trade for one of those two pitchers isn't going to include one of Nolan Gorman, Tommy Edman, or Brendan Donovan. The Cardinals will have to pay a hefty price.

But just because Nola and Yamamoto appear unlikely doesn't mean Cardinals fans should panic. There are ways to get top-level pitching, and it's obvious that St. Louis is going to have to explore several different avenues.