Gray signs 3-year deal with Cardinals

November 27th, 2023

Nov. 27: Gray signs 3-year deal with Cardinals
Continuing to add more seasoned, swing-and-miss stuff to their revamped starting rotation, the Cardinals on Monday signed Gray to a three-year deal with a club option for 2027.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that it is worth $75 million.

Gray posted a 2.79 ERA over 184 innings this past season for the Twins. He allowed only eight home runs, led MLB with a 2.83 FIP and was the runner-up in the American League Cy Young voting. His addition comes after the Cardinals signed starters Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson last week. More >

Nov. 20: Are Braves, Cardinals the favorites for Gray?
The Phillies were reportedly interested in Gray in the event that they were unable to bring back Aaron Nola. Well, Nola is back in Philly on a seven-year deal.

That may take Philadelphia out of the running for Gray, but he appears to still have multiple teams vying for him. One is the Braves, who were in the hunt for Nola. MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi reported Monday that the Braves are "in close ties" with Gray. Last week. Morosi said Atlanta has a "very strong" interest in the veteran hurler.

Then there are the Cardinals, a team aiming to add "at least two starters" this winter. They have their sights set on Gray. According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Cards are "the favorites" to sign the 34-year-old right-hander.

A return to Minnesota might also be possible. Some at have predicted that Gray will sign the Twins.'s Mark Feinsand sees that as a potential fit.

Nov. 13: Gray, Nola 'have emerged as strong possibilities' for Braves
The Braves want to add a starting pitcher in free agency and are willing to pay up to get one, according to a report from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal (subscription required). No player on Atlanta’s roster is due to make more than $22 million in 2024, but the club is willing to go higher than that for the right free-agent starter, per Rosenthal’s report.

One possible target? Gray, who hails from nearby Tennessee and attended Vanderbilt University. According to MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi, Gray and longtime Phillie Aaron Nola have both "emerged as strong possibilities" for Atlanta.

Adding rotation depth is imperative for the Braves this offseason given how last season played out for the club. Max Fried made just 14 starts in 2023 and ended the regular season on the injured list with a blister before returning to start NLDS Game 2 on 17 days’ rest. Meanwhile, right index finger inflammation forced Charlie Morton to miss the NLDS, so the club had to rely on Bryce Elder to start Game 3. Fried and Elder combined to allow nine runs over 6 2/3 innings against the Phillies.

Looking ahead, Fried and Morton are both eligible for free agency next offseason.

The Phillies remain engaged with Nola, but Morosi reported last week that the two sides did not seem close to a reunion, and Rosenthal thinks their inability to re-sign him to this point might be telling. Rosenthal suggests Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski might prefer a pitcher who misses more bats, such as fellow free agent Blake Snell. The Phils also have been linked to Gray, who is not expected to be as costly as Nola or Snell.

Nov. 8: Phillies interested in Gray (report)'s experts took a shot recently at predicting where the top free agents will sign this offseason. When it came to Gray, 13 teams were mentioned as a possible landing spot. The Phillies were not one of those teams, but it appears Philadelphia does have its eyes on the right-hander, who turned 34 years old Tuesday.

Sources told MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi that the Phillies are interested in Gray. Morosi adds that the Phils "will be a top suitor" for Gray if they lose free agent workhorse Aaron Nola.

A Gray-Phillies marriage would present the pitcher with a reunion of sorts. He and Phils pitching coach Caleb Cotham were teammates at Vanderbilt University in 2009. They joined forces again in Cincinnati, where Cotham was on the Reds' coaching staff in 2019 and 2020 while Gray was in the rotation. Cotham was the club's assistant pitching coach in '19, and Gray put up a 2.87 ERA with 205 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings that year.

Gray was selected for the All-Star Game that season, just as he was in 2023. He's coming off a career year with Minnesota, highlighted by an MLB-best 2.83 FIP and a 5.3 fWAR that ranked third among qualified starters.

Nov. 1: What contract projections say about Gray's potential market
Gray will be one of the top pitchers on the free-agent market this offseason, and a glimpse at some of the predictions for his next contract show why there could be widespread interest in him.

While fellow free-agent hurlers such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and Aaron Nola are all expected to command nine-figure deals, Gray’s age -- he’ll turn 34 on Nov. 7 -- will likely limit the length of his contract.

The Athletic's Tim Britton (subscription required) predicts Gray will sign a three-year, $72 million contract, not far off from the prediction shared by colleague Jim Bowden (three years, $64 million).

As Britton notes, a comparison can be made between Gray and Chris Bassitt, who signed a three-year, $63 million contract with the Blue Jays following his age-33 season in 2022. A late-bloomer, Bassitt had a career 3.45 ERA with a 3.81 FIP and a 2.94 K/BB ratio over 737 1/3 innings when he reached free agency last offseason. Gray has thrown more than two times as many innings, but the other numbers (3.47 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 2.80 K/BB) line up.

The projected contract range could make Gray a target for big- and small-market teams alike, with Bowden naming the Rockies, Giants, Cardinals, Orioles, Angels and Braves as potential fits in addition to the incumbent Twins.