Braves are about to lose out on their top starting pitching target to a hated rival

The Braves were very much in on Sonny Gray, but it looks like he is going to sign with a team that Atlanta fans truly despise.

Oct 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches
Oct 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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The one thing that the Atlanta Braves really need to do this offseason is add a quality starting pitchers. As much as the Braves would love for their latest signee, Reynaldo Lopez, to turn into a stud rotation arm, the odds are that he settles into more of a multi-inning guy similar to the role that Collin McHugh and Josh Tomlin played while also being a guy that can be trusted in high leverage situations. One name on the starting pitching market that the Braves have been connected to quite a bit this offseason has been Sonny Gray.

The interest from the Braves' side makes a ton of sense as Gray is a guy that shouldn't have required a lengthy contract and who is coming off a season where he finished with 5.3 rWAR and a 2.79 ERA in route to a second place Cy Young finish. Unfortunately, it appears as though the despised Cardinals beat Atlanta out for his services.

Cardinals steal Sonny Gray away from the Braves

There are few teams that Braves fans hate more than the Cardinals. The Mets and the Phillies are strong contenders and Atlanta's recent history with the Dodgers puts them in the running as well. While the Cardinals' dumpster fire of a 2023 season was amazing, it seems as though they at least figured out that they couldn't get by with ignoring their rotation entirely.

After the Cardinals signed Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson for some reason, many thought that St. Louis would be big players for Yoshinobu Yamamoto. However, it appears as though they shifted their focus to Gray and managed to get a deal done before the Winter Meetings.

Braves fans shouldn't get too up in arms just yet, however. Gray's age and injury history meant that anything beyond a three year deal for him would be highly questionable and the desperate Cardinals may have had to overpay to get a deal done. While the details of Gray's deal are not yet known, this would be a huge miss for the Braves if Gray's deal ends up being a reasonable one. However, there are still a lot of good arms out there still (including Yamamoto who the Braves should absolutely be trying to sign) and Alex Anthopoulos has earned the benefit of the doubt.

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