HomeOther Philly SportsSonny Gray signs three-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, as reported...

Sonny Gray signs three-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, as reported by Phillies Nation

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The Phillies had interest in Sonny Gray before signing Aaron Nola. (Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire)

The second major free agent of the 2023-24 class is off the board.

Sonny Gray and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a three-year, $75 million contract, according to multiple reports: Jon Heyman of the New York Post first had the expected agreement; Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first had the terms.

Gray was once a reported target of the Philadelphia Phillies, before the club re-signed Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million contract on Nov. 19. But their interest always seemed like a contingency plan should they have failed to retain Nola; the longtime Phillie and Yoshinobu Yamamoto seemed to emerge as the club’s Tier 1 of starting pitching targets. Even with Nola staying in Philadelphia, Yamamoto could theoretically still be in play if the market works out in their favor (though it seems unlikely it does), but rumors linking the Phillies to Gray quieted upon the Nola deal.

The Phillies tie-in with the Gray-Cardinals contract goes the other way, too: The Cardinals were viewed as one of the top suitors for Nola before he inked his seven-year contract. The team intends to write off 2023, in which it finished last in the NL Central and lost 91 games, as an anomaly, holding onto Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in an attempt to get right back into contention in 2024. But starting pitching was (and perhaps still is) a weakness. Nola was reported as a free-agent target before the season even ended.

Apparently, that needle never budged. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals never made the durable right-hander an offer — or even gave him a meeting.

So, they pivoted. They signed Lance Lynn to a one-year deal the next day, Kyle Gibson to a one-year pact the day after that and, now, Gray.

The result is a staff that’s certainly improved from last year but has also gotten a fair bit older: The projected starting rotation of Gray, Miles Mikolas, Lynn, Steven Matz and Gibson carries an average age of 35 years old.

There’s certainly upside there, though, especially with the addition of Gray, the 2023 American League Cy Young runner-up who finished with a 2.79 ERA and 184 innings in his age-33 season.

And though he was unlikely to find himself in red pinstripes, Monday’s news may still have impacted the Phillies: The day before the Nola deal, ESPN‘s Jeff Passan said MLB executives believed Nola or Gray would wind up in Atlanta with the Braves. That won’t be happening, and for that, Phillies fans can be thankful.

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  4. Amid Yamamoto Rumors, Dombrowski Says 2024 Rotation Is Set
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