Projected Cardinals nightmare rotation without Sonny Gray in it

The St. Louis Cardinals may be in for a tough ride this season, as Sonny Gray will likely begin the year on the IL. Here is the team's projected rotation without their new ace.

Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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The 2024 season is fast approaching, but the St. Louis Cardinals already appear to have hit a bump in the road.

On Monday, right-hander Sonny Gray, who was signed to be the team's ace, was pulled from his start against the Washington Nationals and later diagnosed with a hamstring strain.

Fortunately, it's mild and he shouldn't be out too long, but he may begin the season on the injured list.

Beyond Gray, the rotation of the Cardinals is relatively weak.

In this piece, we will break down what the rotation could look like without him.

5. Zack Thompson could be rotation filler for Cardinals

Barring an unlikely free agent addition of Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, or even Michael Lorenzen, the Cardinals best internal option to fill Gray's spot in the rotation would be 26-year-old left-hander Zack Thompson.

He took over for Steven Matz late in the year when the latter went down with a lat injury, and he performed quite well, even putting together a seven-inning, three-run performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 3.

Thompson was originally set to be a reliever, but the Cardinals are fortunate that he can be stretched out as a starter in the event of an injury.

That is likely what the Cards are going to have to do with Gray potentially missing some time.

If Gray misses Opening Day, Thompson will likely fill the No. 5 spot in the rotation and make his first start of the year on April 1 against the San Diego Padres.

Last season, the lefty appeared in 25 games and made nine starts, going 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA.

His spring stats aren't too shabby either. He's 1-1 and owns a 3.60 ERA in his two starts, making him an ideal candidate to fill a rotation spot if he is needed in that role.