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.
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.