It was clear to most that St. Louis needed to add depth, reliability, and talent to their starting rotation. When they signed Lance Lynn to a one-year, $11 million deal, fans figured he would slot in as their fifth starting pitcher, and the team would add two other high-end starting pitchers. Instead, they inked Kyle Gibson to a one-year, $13 million contract. Now, the Cardinals had two back-end starting pitchers.
While both of these righties wanted to play for St. Louis and they would provide more than enough innings, fans were perplexed. The team needed an ace and good innings, not just innings in general. Perhaps, given the durability of Sonny Gray, Miles Mikolas, and Lance Lynn, the team could have even reached for an oft-injured but talented pitcher like Tyler Glasnow.
Gibson and Lynn both expressed a desire to pitch in St. Louis, and they should provide a boost to the clubhouse culture. However, Gibson was prone to giving up hits last year, and Lance Lynn allowed a high amount of home runs. Both pitchers are on the wrong side of thirty-five as well.
Since St. Louis signed Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson, a handful of other starting pitchers in their "tier" have been signed as well. Michael Wacha, Seth Lugo, Jack Flaherty, Kenta Maeda, Tyler Mahle, and Luis Severino have all been signed on comparable contracts to those given out to Lynn and Gibson. The other pitchers signed were all younger than the two starters St. Louis signed.
Kyle Gibson is projected to have a 4.76 ERA, 1.349 WHIP, and strike out 7.6 batters per nine innings in 172 innings. Lance Lynn, in 164 innings, is projected to have a 4.78 ERA, 1.317 WHIP, and strike out 9.1 batters per nine innings with a moderate walk rate and an elevated home run rate. Both projections come from Baseball Reference.
Was St. Louis wise in jumping the market to sign these two pitchers from the Midwest, or should they have been patient and tried signing one of the other mid/low-tier starting pitchers that have been signed since?