Cody Bellinger's contract opens new doors for the St. Louis Cardinals

Could the Cardinals consider signing Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell to a short-term high-AAV contract like the Cubs did with Cody Bellinger?
St. Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

As Spring Training ramps up, Scott Boras' clients are running out of time to find a team. The first of the "Boras-four" has fallen with Cody Bellinger returning to the Chicago Cubs on a 3-year $80 million contract with opt-outs after each year. Bellinger's deal might show us what the other three Boras clients, Matt Chapman, Blake Snell, and Jordan Montgomery might have to accept to find a team before it's too late. The Cardinals should be extremely interested in two of these three if shorter-term deals with opt-outs are on the table.

It's no secret that the Cardinals have patched their rotation with less-than-ideal options in Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson. Sure, Sonny Gray provides some very high upside at the top, but aside from Gray, the depth is thin. Adding Montgomery or Snell on a shorter-term deal would be an excellent move to thrust the team into championship contention for 2024.

Moreover, the Cubs are now seen as NL Central favorites by many projection systems now that they've reunited with Bellinger. I'm not convinced Bellinger will transform the Cubs into division favorites, especially after they lost Marcus Stroman, but this move certainly makes the division race closer. Adding another starter would truly take the Cardinals over the rest of the division as favorites.

With ownership as unwilling to add starting pitching to long-term contracts as they have been, Snell or Montgomery's prices dropping to shorter-term deals with higher AAVs could push the Cardinals back into the bidding. Any opt-outs will certainly incentivize Snell and Montgomery to test free agency again and it minimizes any long-term risk with injuries or underperformance. Moreover, with Gray's contract deferrals, the Cardinals definitely could stretch the budget just a bit with the addition of another high-end starting pitcher.

Ultimately, it seems like the Cardinals still won't add more pitching before Opening Day, but the door has certainly opened wider for a new addition this Spring.

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