Cardinals sign Gray to 3-year deal reportedly worth $75M
The St. Louis Cardinals further bolstered their starting rotation ahead of the 2024 campaign on Monday by signing American League Cy Young runner-up Sonny Gray to a three-year contract that includes a club option in 2027.
Gray's deal is worth $75 million, a source told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. The club option is for $30 million with a $5-million buyout, a source told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Gray can reportedly max out the contract's value at $100 million.
Gray also received a no-trade clause, Goold reports.
"Going into this thing, I wanted to be a Cardinal," Gray said at a press conference, according to John Denton of MLB.com. "That started probably a little over a year ago. It's a place that every time I've come here as a visitor, I've looked at the stadium, and I've said, 'Wow, this place is incredible.'"
The 34-year-old Gray put together one of the best campaigns of his career in 2023, authoring a 2.79 ERA and 2.83 FIP with only eight home runs allowed in 184 innings for the Minnesota Twins.
Gray becomes the third starting pitcher the Cardinals have added this offseason, joining right-handers Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn. St. Louis struggled to a 71-91 record last season, with its rotation ranking 11th in FIP, 12th in ERA, and 13th in innings pitched among National League teams.
With Gray in tow, the Cardinals' 2024 rotation will average 35 years in age.
Cardinals' projected 2024 rotation
"I don't think we're looking to add (more) starting pitching now," Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said after announcing Gray's signing, according to the Post-Dispatch's Benjamin Hochman. "I think it's where can we improve the club overall. But I learned a long time ago, never say never."
Gray's departure nets the Twins a compensatory draft pick after the hurler declined the club's qualifying offer and signed with another team for more than $50 million. The compensation pick will slot in at 33rd overall, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. St. Louis will forfeit its second-highest pick in next summer's draft and $500,000 of international bonus pool money, per Denton.
Minnesota wanted to re-sign Gray, but wasn't willing to match the deal the Cardinals gave him, reports The Athletic's Dan Hayes. Another former team of Gray's, the Cincinnati Reds, pursued him and came close to an agreement, a source told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
The Atlanta Braves were also interested in signing Gray, sources told Goold.