MLB Rumors: Former Cardinals rival is at the very top of their wish list

The St. Louis Cardinals have at least one obvious pitching target entering this offseason, though he will be costly.
Minnesota Twins v St. Louis Cardinals
Minnesota Twins v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals have an offseason wish list of sorts, and John Mozeliak has made it clear the front office will prioritize pitching. Whether ownership is willing to spend top dollar for an ace-level starting pitcher remains to be seen, and quite frankly goes against the grain for this franchise.

However, times are changing, and this year's free-agent market features some top-level starting pitching talent. Aaron Nola, who ousted St. Louis in last year's postseason, is reportedly their top target should he leave the Philadelphia Phillies.

"Phillies’ ace Aaron Nola, part of the tandem that ousted the Cardinals a year ago, is set to be a free agent this November," Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said. "He is on the Cardinals’ wish list to pursue, if not at the top of it, sources have described."

Do the St. Louis Cardinals have what it takes to sign Aaron Nola?

Nola will cost quite a bit despite a down season by his standards in 2023. He's an ace, but sometimes overshadowed in Philly thanks to Zack Wheeler. Nola is a homegrown product and Dave Dombrowksi will want to keep him around. However, the Phils will have to pay up. FanSided MLB Insider Robert Murray graded a Nola-Cardinals fit as a 4/10, insisting that a lower-level target makes more sense.

"Nola will get paid in free agency, and my expectation is he’s likely to sign a new contract in Philadelphia. Especially with how much team president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski prioritizes pitching. If the Cardinals are to land a higher-end starting pitcher in free agency, a name that makes a LOT of sense for them is Jordan Montgomery. A reunion between the two sides is one to watch."

If St. Louis is as desperate as they seem for an ace, especially with Adam Wainwright retiring this season, then Nola could be the answer.

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