MLB executive votes Cardinals signing Sonny Gray as the best signing of the offseason

In a recent poll of MLB executives, Sonny Gray was voted as one of the best signings from this offseason.
Chicago White Sox v St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago White Sox v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

Remember all of those "The St. Louis Cardinals only sign guys who have AARP cards and qualify for the senior discount!" jokes that people made this offseason? Turns out the elder arms that the Cardinals brought in are some of the few players actually producing, while their lineup, which looked great on paper, continues to falter day in and day out.

No one is surprised though that the best signing of the bunch from this offseason was Sonny Gray, who was fresh off finishing second in American League Cy Young voting and was by far the biggest name the Cardinals brought in. There was, though, much debate over whether or not it was even a good signing, with lazy takes of "Well, he's in his 30s," or "He's not a front-line starter!" reigning in from various parts of the fanbase.

Well, Gray has been everything the Cardinals could have hoped for and more so far, and one MLB executive has gone as far as to say it's been the best free agent signing so far.

In a recent poll done among MLB executives, they were asked which free-agent signing has been the best move so far. To no one's surprise, the Chicago Cubs signing of Shota Imanaga ran away in the voting with nine, followed up by four votes for the Los Angeles Dodgers grabbing Shohei Ohtani. There were nine other players who received one vote though, with Sonny Gray being one of them.

Sonny Gray voted as one of the best free agent signing this offseason

Now, if I were voting, I would probably give the edge to Imanaga as well, but for all of the fanfare the Cubs' newest starter has received so far this year, Gray has been every bit of as good to this point.

2024 stats (MLB Rank)





Sonny Gray

0.89 (2nd)

33.3% (2nd)

0.86 (9th)

1.56 (1st)

Shota Imanaga

0.78 (1st)

26.5% (29th)

0.75 (3rd)

2.22 (5th)

Part of what makes something a great signing as well though is the contract the club got them on, and Imanaga's four-year, $53 million pact with Chicago is a much bigger bargain than the three-year, $75 million deal Gray got from St. Louis. Time will tell who's money ages better.

We are only six weeks into the season, so declaring someone "the best signing of the offseason" is premature at best, but it is worth looking at the money spent and seeing how it has impacted clubs so far. Not only did the Cardinals bring in one of the best signings of the entire offseason so far in Gray, but the two other starters they signed, Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson, have outperformed their contracts thus far.

Even so, it still is worth wondering why the Cardinals were not more aggressive on someone like Imanaga. While we all think the Cardinals should be more aggressive with the true top-end free agent deals, they have to nail the mid-tier free agent market if they are going to mostly swim in those. Gray wasn't quite top tier money like a Yoshinobu Yamamoto was but clearly was in a different class of free agent from Imanaga. But when you look at the AAV of someone like Lynn or Gibson, or especially Miles Mikolas, it makes you wonder why the Cardinals did make a more high-upside signing instead.

At least they have Sonny Gray!