Ranking the likeliest free agent starting pitching fits for the St. Louis Cardinals

There are a lot of starting pitchers being linked to the Cardinals in free agency, but which ones are the likeliest fits?
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7. Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez has had himself quite the bounce-back season in 2023. His contract with the Detroit Tigers has gone from looking like a big mistake, to now he will opt out of the remaining money this offseason and cash in again.

After posting a 4.05 ERA in just 91 innings of work last year, Rodriguez has a 3.03 ERA over 113 innings, missing a bit of time with injury but looking very sharp when healthy.

Rodriguez vetoed a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline. Had that deal gone through, he may have even more appeal as a player without a qualifying offer attached to him. But now, it's almost a guarantee he will.

Rodriguez is interesting for St. Louis, but where I pause in feeling like he's a top option for them is the lack of consistency with the potentially high price tag. This is by far the best season of his career, and it's almost come with injuries as well. His career ERA is 4.03, and he never had an ERA below 3.81 until this season.

Rodrguez feels too much like a number three to me talent-wise, without the upside to be consistently more than that, and with some pitfalls that could cause him to be less than that. I think the Cardinals will feel similarly about Rodriguez.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why people will talk themselves into him, and he wouldn't be a bad option for the Cardinals, but I think there are too many better options to pursue.