Sonny Gray: Has he peaked as a starter?
Sonny Gray is my favorite option from this free agent class. I think he is criminally underrated around baseball, and he will easily be the best value among the top-end starters on the free-agent market.
In 30 starts, Gray has a 2.84 ERA while striking out 8.8 batters per nine innings. For his career, Gray has a 3.48 ERA and is typically good for at least 180 innings for your club.
Although I'd prefer to have a rotation where Gray is my number two (which means it's very, very strong), I wouldn't even mind Gray being the ace of my staff. He's been that good this year. His price point will be significantly lower than Nola, Snell, and Yamamoto as well.
The biggest question mark with Gray is whether or not this is his peak as a pitcher. He'll be 34 by the end of 2023, so it's fair to wonder if he'll age well over the course of his deal. I'd imagine he'd only get two or three years on his contract anyway, but it's still a fair question to ask.
Even if Gray isn't the pitcher he is this year and is closer to his career average of 3.48, I'd take that if I am St. Louis. There is no one on the starting pitching market who will guarantee me better results than that, so I wouldn't let the idea of some regression scare me off from Gray, especially with him likely taking less money and fewer years to sign.