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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Chris Bassitt

Chris Bassitt is just a few months older than Eovaldi, but he is at a comparable age in his career. Most of Bassitt's success was found in Oakland from 2015-2021. He was traded to the Mets in Spring 2022. Bassitt was always seen as a mid-rotation starter with a good ability to limit walks and hits.

For his career, Bassitt had an ERA of 3.51, a FIP of 3.94, a WHIP of 1.189, and a Ks/9 of 8.2. While his strikeouts are underwhelming, particularly for a team searching for strikeouts in a league that is making defense harder with stricter shift rules, his WHIP and FIP numbers are very strong for his career. Bassitt averaged right around 150 innings per season with 27 starts since he became a full-time starter in the rotations in Oakland and New York.

Early in December, Bassitt signed a three-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The contract, similar to Eovaldi's was worth $63 million overall. His AAV was $21 million per year. This would have placed Bassitt as one of the most expensive pitchers in the Cardinals' rotation. He would still have the highest AAV even after Mikolas's contract extension.

The Cardinals may have missed out on Bassitt. If you remove three of his fourteen starts (April 2nd, May 27th, and June 13th), Bassitt has been pitching at a near-ace level for staff. He has already logged 85 innings, more than any other Cardinals starter, and his WHIP of 1.129 would be tops in the Cardinals rotation. Bassitt has shown a propensity to limit hits and walks, despite struggling with home runs (1.6 HRs/9) and not having many strikeouts (7.9 Ks/9). While he has been up and down this season, having Bassitt as a starter behind Mikolas and Montgomery would lengthen the rotation that much more and give the team a strong fourth starter in the postseason, however bleak that prospect may be right now.