This year's free agency period could shape a new offseason blueprint for Cardinals

The Cardinals didn't do exactly what we all wanted them to do this offseason, but some of the free-agent deals pitchers signed may help shape a new blueprint for the Cardinals.
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five / Harry How/GettyImages

The Cardinals had a busy offseason and added three starting pitchers to bolster the rotation.

Unfortunately, the only one that seemed to move the needle was the Sonny Gray signing, and with him on the injured list, the Cardinals may be in for another tough start. Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn aren't sexy additions, and neither one of them pitched well in spring training.

It's even more frustrating considering that the Diamondbacks were able to sign Jordan Montgomery at the same AAV as the Cardinals were able to sign Gray, meaning that this move was well within the Cardinals' price range.

A lot of pitchers ended up signing shorter-term deals this offseason. Blake Snell signed a two-year, $62 million contract with the Giants, and Gray's deal was for three years and $75 million.

But what if this offseason potentially set a new blueprint for how the Cardinals go about adding pitching in free agency?

I'm not talking about bargain additions like Lynn and Gibson, and still wholeheartedly believe the Cardinals could have and should have done better. But let me explain below.

2023-24 offseason may have set a new blueprint for Cardinals

So, what is this blueprint I'm speaking of, you ask?

Well, the Cardinals could certainly benefit from signing veteran pitchers like Gray who are also top-of-the-rotation arms to shorter-term deals. They got Gray at a good price, and when he comes back, he should be a tremendous help to the team.

This part won't be a popular take, but this actually does not require the Cardinals to go after guys like Snell, Aaron Nola, Max Fried, or Corbin Burnes. The Cardinals never got around to making Nola an offer and never showed any interest in Snell. Given their history, I find it unlikely that they'll go after Burnes or Fried, and they especially won't be able to get those guys on short-term deals.

But other starting pitchers will be available next offseason, guys that are veterans but still upper-rotation arms. Think Shane Bieber, Merrill Kelly, and Nathan Eovaldi.

Eovaldi of course has a player option for 2025, but if he does not exercise it, he's a guy that the Cardinals can pursue on a shorter-term deal.

Yes, Eovaldi is going to be 35 next season, and there's always a risk with age. But we've seen what he can do in the postseason numerous times, and that's something I want in the Cardinals rotation going forward.

Bieber will also be entering free agency at the age of 30, which is probably part of what kept teams from going too big on Snell and Montgomery. And again, his market may play out similar to how theirs did. But that's something the Cardinals could still take advantage of.

And perhaps this is something the Cardinals can do in future offseasons. Instead of signing bargain deals for guys like Gibson and Lynn, the Cardinals can actually target guys who are more proven and reliable.

Yes, age could be an issue, but you're at least getting certainty as opposed to banking on hope. They could have a rotation of guys that can take them far without breaking the bank. We'll see if the Cardinals end up trying this next year.