MLB Rumors: Cubs-Cards battle for top starter, Mets Ohtani backup plan, Hader to NL East?

MLB Rumors: Will Aaron Nola sign with the Chicago Cubs or St. Louis Cardinals? The Mets have a Shohei Ohtani backup plan. Josh Hader makes sense for 2 NL East rivals.
Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Guardians
Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Guardians / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Cubs and Cardinals could battle for top rotation talent

The Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals rivalry lives on, even if the latter of those teams is having an off year by their standards. Chicago and St. Louis will need starting pitching this offseason, and Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies could be a popular target for both.

The Cardinals are already in offseason mode, and Nola is on their supposed 'wish list' of starting pitchers this winter. FanSided's Robert Murray still doesn't think a Nola-St. Louis match is too likely given their history of short-term rotation deals.

"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 a Montgomery reunion is more likely than not in St. Louis, then could Nola sign with the Cubs?

Chicago has starting pitching problems of its own, with Marcus Stroman potentially opting out of his contract. Kyle Hendricks also has a club option, so the Cubs need to decide whether or not they want to keep 'The Professor' around. Amidst all that is this vague connection to Nola, per Mark Feinsand, who would cost more than Stroman and Hendricks if both were to stay on their current contracts.

If we had to give one team the edge, it's like the Cubs because of the contracts they have coming off the books. But the most likely option for Nola is staying in Philly.