ST. LOUIS – A retooled St. Louis Cardinals rotation now includes one of the team’s most coveted arms this offseason.
Sonny Gray, the 2023 American League Cy Young runner-up and three-time All-Star, joins the Cardinals on a three-year, $75 million contract.
At 34 years old, Gray is the Cardinals’ third starting pitcher addition before the Winter Meetings even begin. St. Louis added veterans Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson on one-year deals last week. As it stands, Gray is arguably the headliner of a retooled rotation.
Gray says St. Louis was at the top of his wish list this offseason. “I wanted to be a Cardinal,” he said early in his introductory press conference Monday evening.
“Me and my family, we truly wanted to be here,” said Gray. “We’re glad that it worked out, and we get to be here. Very, very excited to be a Cardinal.”
Gray is coming off one of his best big-league seasons, which led to a 2.79 ERA and 183 strikeouts over 184 innings pitched. His ground ball rate and ability to limit home runs (only 8 allowed last season) are among the advanced metrics the Cardinals value.
There was one recommendation that really helped solidify his choice. Adam Wainwright, less than two months after his final MLB game, gave Gray a strong review of the culture and expectations in St. Louis.
“It’s not a place that accepts losing,” said Gray. “Losing is not an option. It’s not a place where you just say, “Oh, the Cardinals, they’re going to go through this thing.’ It doesn’t happen here. I believe in that. I believe in traditions. I believe in longevity.”
“You’ve got a strong culture. You’ve got an incredibly strong foundation,” he continued. “You’ve got good people. I believe the winning culture is still here. It just didn’t happen last year, but I believe it’s still here, and it’s been here for a long time.”
Cardinals lead executive John Mozeliak said Gray was someone the Cardinals wanted to draft out of Vanderbilt University in 2011 before the Oakland Athletics ultimately drafted him. Gray will gear up for his 12th MLB season with the Cardinals after experience on four teams in the Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins.
Mozeliak suggested Monday that the door isn’t necessarily closed on more additions to the Cardinals pitching staff, but the team also wants to explore the potential trade market after adding three arms.