Looking at 4 mid-tier starters that the Cardinals' missed out on in free agency

These four starters were in the Cardinals price range, and have had varying levels of success
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Nathan Eovaldi

Nathan Eovaldi is a 33-year-old righty who has played for a variety of teams in his MLB career. Most of his success came as a starter for the Boston Red Sox from 2019-2022. While he did struggle with health, his postseason performances were strong and he was a good pitcher when healthy.

That last phrase is what probably gave the front office pause this offseason: "When healthy". Between Adam Wainwright, Steven Matz, and Jack Flaherty, Mozeliak had enough of "good when healthy" conversations.

Eovaldi primarily throws a 4-seam fastball, splitter, and cutter. He mixes in a curveball and slider, but he doesn't rely on these pitches much. His fastball sits around 95-96 MPH and doesn't generate too many whiffs (19.4%). Meanwhile, his splitter and curveball are pitches that have low batting average against numbers (.170 and .229, respectively) while also maintaining high whiff rates (35% and 36.2%, respectively). Eovaldi has a good mix of strikeouts (8.4 Ks/9) and ground balls (48.3%, 5% above league average).

Nathan Eovaldi signed a contract with the Texas Rangers worth $34 million over two years, with an additional player option for a third year should he meet particular numbers. Overall, the contract could reach three years and $63 million. This contract would have placed him cheaper than Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas' extensions, for context. I'm not arguing that Eovaldi should have been signed INSTEAD of Wainwright, as I believe keeping Waino was a good idea for the franchise; rather, I'm arguing Eovaldi would have been a reasonable price when looking at other contracts the team has distributed in the last few months to pitchers.

For the season, Eovaldi has racked up 2.5 WAR with an ERA of 2.59, 2.85 FIP, 0.982 WHIP, and 8.8 Ks/9. Most impressively, Eovaldi has two complete games and one shutout on the season through fourteen games. He has made it into the 6th inning in every one of his starts and has given up zero runs in five of his starts. These ace-level statistics would be great to have at the top of the rotation, particularly when you consider the contract he was given in the offseason.