Rather than having him step onto the mound at Great American Ball Park as part of their pitching staff, the Cincinnati Reds may be staring down Sonny Gray a few times per year as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Cardinals will "strongly pursue" Gray this winter. The right-hander, who'll enter free agency this offseason, is sure to draw a lot of interest on the open market.
Gray, who pitched for the Reds from 2019-2021, was traded to the Minnesota Twins prior to the 2022 season. In exchange, Cincinnati received Minnesota's 2021 first-round draft pick, Chase Petty.
Reds' NL Central rival plans to strongly pursue Sonny Gray this offseason
As bad as the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation was in 2023, the St. Louis Cardinals group of starters wasn't much better. The Cardinals finished in last place in the NL Central this past season and the team's ownership and front office have vowed to change that heading into 2024.
The Cardinals still have perinal All-Stars in Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado as well as a plethora of young talent including Lars Nootbaar, Nolan Gorman, and Tommy Edman.
The Cardinals starting rotation, however, was abysmal. Adam Wainwright finished his career with an ERA of 7.20 in 21 starts last season. Dakota Hudson owned an ERA near 5.00, and both Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery were dealt at the trade deadline.
It's no shock that Sonny Gray has emerged as a pitcher that many teams, including the Cardinals, will look to sign this offseason. The Reds could be in the mix as well, but with the likelihood of a qualifying offer being attached to Gray's signing, Cincinnati would appear to be an unlikely destination.
Pitching depth will be a priority for a number of teams this winter, and Gray is likely to cash in on the shortage of quality arms available. Look for Gray to secure a multi-year contract with an average annual value of at least $20-million.