Three fallback options if the Cardinals can't sign Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola is one of the Cardinals top targets this offseason. If they are not able to sign him, where else could they turn?

Wild Card Series - Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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Lucas Giolito

Giolito has had a string of bad seasons dating back to last year. The former All-Star was 8-15 with a 4.88 ERA in 2023 with the White Sox, Angels, and Guardians. Also, in no way am I saying that he's a better option than Nola.

But if the Cardinals are unable to sign Nola, Giolito could be had on a shorter-term deal. The veteran right-hander is still a very solid strikeout pitcher, having punched out 204 batters this season and averaged 10 per game.

This could make him an attractive option for the Cardinals. He's been a top-level starter in the past, so he does have a strong body of work to fall back on. The walks are a bit of a concern. He averaged close to four per game this season.

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But if he can continue to strike hitters out while also cutting down on the walks, a return to form may be in the cards for Giolito. Giolito is also close with former Cardinal Jack Flaherty and Braves ace Max Fried, having been high-school teammates in California, so he may already have a foot in the door if the Cards come calling for his services this winter.