9. Blake Snell
Both Bob Nightengale and Derrick Goold have linked the Cardinals to Blake Snell, which is really encouraging to hear. If there was one starter I would've bet the Cardinals would not want to seriously consider (outside of Julio Urias), the name would have been Snell.
Snell is about to win his second career Cy Young after going 14-9 with a 2.25 ERA in 180 innings for the Padres this year. He is a strikeout machine, fanning 11.7 batters per nine innings, but also walks the world, allowing five free passes per nine as well. Snell is an extremely talented pitcher, but one has to wonder how long he can sustain success with how reliant he is on his swing-and-miss.
The Cardinals need swing-and-miss stuff badly, but I do think it's fair to be concerned with that starter also giving up so many free passes. Strikeouts help you get out of jams. What if they fall off? Does Snell plummet as a pitcher? He'll be 31 before the start of the 2024 season, and outside of his other Cy Young season in 2018, he hasn't been anywhere near this good.
Maybe Snell has finally come into his own as a pitcher and is ready to take the next few years by storm, but there seems to be a lot of risk here for a guy who's likely to get the biggest contract out of all of the starters available.
Would I be excited if they got Snell? Of course. I really do think they have real interest. But at the end of the day, I think the Cardinals would lean in the direction of these other options, rather than outbidding the market on Snell. I don't blame them for doing so, as long as they stay at the top of the market as their alternatives.