The St. Louis Cardinals used a furious playoff push to crack the National League Wild Card Game in 2021, but their time in the postseason didn’t last long.
The Los Angeles Dodgers made sure that the Cardinals only appeared in one playoff game before their year ended.
In the time since, the Cardinals organization has made it very clear that it’s not satisfied with the ways things have gone in recent years.
The Cardinals have already parted ways with manager Mike Schildt, and they’re starting to make some noise in free agency, too.
Their most recent move?
The signing of Steven Matz to a four-year deal worth $44 million.
Left-hander Steven Matz and the St. Louis Cardinals are in agreement on a four-year, $44 million contract, pending physical, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Matz is coming off a career-best season and has a chance to get to $48 million and will receive a signing bonus.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 24, 2021
St. Louis is sending a message to fans that things will be different in 2022.
What Are The Cardinals Getting In Matz?
Given the multi-year nature of the Cardinals’ deal with Matz, the club clearly feels like the hurler is going to be effective for years to come.
The lefty just put together a really solid 2021 season in which he pitched to a 3.82 ERA over 29 starts.
He also posted a 115 ERA+, 3.79 FIP, and 1.33 WHIP.
He finished the year with a bWAR of 2.0.
Steven Matz, Wicked 78mph Curveball…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/LQqNEijIXD
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 2, 2021
All things considered, Matz’s 2021 season was pretty impressive.
It came as somewhat of a surprise, too, given the fact that he had a brutal showing in 2020.
The 30-year-old registered a 9.68 ERA over nine outings (six starts) in the pandemic-shortened season.
For his career, Matz has a 4.24 ERA and 4.34 WHIP.
The Cardinals would obviously be pumped to see him pitch like his 2021 self in 2022.
What Does St. Louis’ Projected Rotation Look Like For 2022?
The Cardinals’ projected 2022 rotation definitely looks better after the Matz signing than it did before.
The club is presumably hoping to roll with a staff that looks something like this (in no particular order): Matz, Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas.
We just talked about how Matz performed in 2021, but how about those other guys?
Let’s take a look.
- Wainwright: 3.05 ERA and 3.66 FIP over 32 starts
- Flaherty: 3.22 ERA and 4.22 FIP over 17 outings (15 starts)
- Hudson: 2.08 ERA over 8.2 IP after returning from Tommy John (career ERA of 3.14 over 69 outings and 41 starts)
- Mikolas: 4.23 ERA and 4.40 FIP over nine starts
Are there some question marks in there?
Yes, especially from a health standpoint.
Hudson is sort of a wild card after Tommy John, Mikolas has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career, and Flaherty took a beating throughout the 2021 season.
But there’s definitely a lot of potential within that group, and there’s no denying that the staff looks much better on paper with Matz being a part of it.
The Cardinals could probably use another rotation addition this offseason, but it remains to be seen if that’s in the cards.
They could add some depth by perhaps re-signing Jon Lester or J.A. Happ, both of whom were decent arms for the club in 2021.
We’ll see if they opt to go in that direction.
The organization is trying to win its first World Series title since 2011, and folks in St. Louis are hoping that 2022 will be the year it happens.NEXT: Ranking Adam Wainwright's 3 Best Seasons So Far