Aaron Nola fits the mold of a traditional Cardinals' ace
If Sonny Gray is the perfect target for the Cardinals, then Aaron Nola is the perfect mold of a traditional Cardinals starter.
I'm not sure why, but when I talk about how great of a fit Gray would be, people will assume I believe he's the only starter they need, or that they can go for "lesser" arms with their other two rotation spots. I also believe the Cardinals need at least two high-end starters this offseason, and Nola would be an excellent piece to that equation.
I have my concerns about Nola, as in his age-30 season, he has gone 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA, albeit battling through 193.2 innings. He's been a pretty streaky pitcher in his career, but when he is at his best, he is a Cy Young candidate who eats a ton of innings. The Cardinals need high-end talent at the top of their rotation, but they'll also need at least one of those guys to be an innings eater. Nola could be that.
Nola struggles with giving up the home run ball, but that may make Busch Stadium an appealing place for him to pitch because of that. I doubt he will post an ERA north of 4.50 again in 2024, but he'll need to cut out some of those long balls in order to do so.
Stay tuned for plenty of offseason coverage in the coming weeks and months. It's shaping up to be an exciting winter for the St. Louis Cardinals.