Ranking the 5 starting pitchers the Cardinals could sign as Sonny Gray insurance

The Cardinals may need to add another starter here soon, so I ranked five options they could pursue.

Jun 27, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47)
Jun 27, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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Tier 1: The guys that can pair with Sonny Gray at the top of the rotation

#2 - Blake Snell

Let's be honest, this is the part of the list where Cardinals fans can agree the club needs to shop in order to improve this rotation. The market on Blake Snell has been extremely cold this offseason, giving the Cardinals the perfect opportunity to get a mulligan for passing on him before and bringing Snell into the mix now.

Snell, the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the National League, posted a 2.25 ERA in 180 innings for the Padres in 2023 and boasts an 11.7 SO/9, a much-needed breath of fresh air for this rotation. The Cardinals need to keep adding swing-and-miss to this staff, and there are few better at that in today's game than Snell.

I talked with Katie Woo, the Cardinals beat writer for The Athletic, about Snell on this week's episode of the Noot News Podcast, and she downplayed the Cardinals' interest in Snell, stating they were not interested very early on due to his walk rate. While our conversation happened before Gray's injury, it is worth hearing her thoughts on their interest level in the video embedded below.

Aside from the walk rate, there are a number of other concerns around Snell. First is the contract he wants. Snell has already balked at a six-year, $150 million from the Yankees this offseason and has been seeking a deal north of $200 million. If Snell is willing to take a shorter-term deal with opt-outs, that would help the Cardinals' interest in my opinion.

Aside from that though, Snell has been pretty volatile throughout his career. Outside of his two Cy Young-winning seasons, he's had ERAs ranging from 3.24-4.29, which is not bad by any means, but isn't worth a mega contract, especially when he typically only throws about 130 innings a year. The Cardinals would also have to forfeit another draft selection if they signed Snell, having already done so when they signed Gray. Lastly, there needs to be mutual interest here, and it's unclear if Snell would want to pitch for St. Louis.

All of that being said, the Cardinals should still be calling Scott Boras about Blake Snell at this very moment, and if they cannot work out a deal for his other client, they should be doing their very best to get Snell in a Cardinal uniform.