MLB Rumors: Braves top pitching target Sonny Gray headed to the NL Central

The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly close to signing former Minnesota Twins ace Sonny Gray.

Minnesota Twins v St. Louis Cardinals
Minnesota Twins v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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Sonny Gray was coveted by many at the beginning of free agency as an affordable backup plan should the likes of Aaron Nola and Yoshinobu Yamamoto head elsewhere. While the latter has yet to sign, Nola's decision to stay in Philadelphia was a wake-up call for John Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals, who never had a real shot of prying the ace away from the City of Brotherly Love.

The Cardinals already added two starters to their rotation this offseason in Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson. Lynn led the majors in homers allowed, while Gibson led in hits allowed. Both are innings-eaters, but should be employed in the bottom of the starting rotation, rather than at the top of it.

Thankfully for St. Louis, they're reportedly closing in on a deal with Gray, who will provide the Cardinals with the ace they desperately need.

St. Louis Cardinals sign Sonny Gray while Atlanta Braves whiff

Gray was pursued by several contenders, most notably the Atlanta Braves, who are now 0-for-2 in top-level rotation targets this offseason after missing on Nola as well. Atlanta would have risked going well over the luxury tax mark by signing Gray, which is a real cause of concern for ownership, as the Braves would be fined and perhaps have to forfeit draft capital.

Even with Gray off the market, there are plenty of intriguing starting pitchers available, including Yamamoto, Blake Snell and Eduardo Rodriguez. Expect the Braves to be in on at least one of those three as they try to add to their starting rotation heading into a huge 2024 season. Both Charlie Morton and Max Fried will be free agents next winter, as well.

As for the Cardinals, signing Nola is exactly what John Mozeliak promised. The Cards are not done, but they can check one big item off their winter meetings wish list.

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