Sonny Gray was the perfect fit for the Cardinals going into free agency

Many options were available to sign this off-season, but none offered what Sonny Gray does to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

John Mozeliak has done exactly what he promised going into the 2023 off-season: Pitching, pitching, and……..more pitching. Mozeliak did not waste any time getting the Cardinals that pitching by signing Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson to one-year deals to secure quantity innings. Fans have been waiting for the quality factor as the team is still lacking a front-line starter.

Early Monday morning, Jon Heyman reported the Cardinals were close to signing Sonny Gray, which became official on a three-year deal worth $75 million. These three signings all have something very similar in common: short-term deals for middle-aged pitchers. 

Mozeliak made a point at the 2023 trade deadline by trading expiring contracts for young controllable players, with an emphasis on pitchers. He accomplished just that with many young arms now developing within the minor league system. Restructuring the future development will bring the Cardinals back to how they normally operate.

It is extremely out of the ordinary for the Cardinals to aggressively go after a top-tier free agent like Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, or Aaron Nola. But instead, to patch present holes while focusing on building the future from within. The model is to be self-sustaining with a constant churning of young dominant arms like fans got to see with the 2013 team that made it to the World Series on the back of 4 rookie arms. 

Mozeliak was never in a desperate move to fix the present state of the team's pitching issues. He was desperate to fix the future state of the pitching issues. He realized there was a major glaring problem that needed to be addressed. But the problem is much deeper than the starting five going into the 2024 season. Lynn and Gibson helped fix the present issue with the team’s pitching by providing reliable innings, veteran presence, and postseason exposure.

The additions of Tekoah Roby, Adam Kloffenstein, Sem Robberse, Matt Svanson, Drew Rom, and Zack Showalter helped fix the future issue with the lack of young controllable arms developing within the system. So that gives us Sonny Gray, who provides a bridge gap between both issues. Sonny Gray was the main target and the perfect target for the Cardinals this free agency.