When it comes to Clayton Kershaw, you just know you'll definitely have one of the best pitchers in all of baseball if you can manage to pry him out of Los Angeles.
After all, the three-time Cy Young winner and 10-time All-Star has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the league for the past decade and a half. Even last season, at the age of 35, Kershaw delivered with a 13-5 winning record, along with a 2.46 ERA, 177 ERA+, 1.06 WHIP, 40 walks and 137 strikeouts in 131 2/3 innings of work.
However, the only worry for the Phillies would be how well Kershaw can maintain his health. That’s because he'll be turning 36 prior to Opening Day in 2024, and he has been sidelined frequently with ailments over the last four seasons that caused him to miss some time as a result. But if he can manage to avoid the IL, Kershaw would no doubt be the perfect front-of-the-rotation starter to replace Nola.
Other than two outlying years back in 2016 and 2018, Sonny Gray has pretty much been a dependable, solid, front-end-of-the-rotation starter throughout his career.
He possesses a lifetime 98-85 winning record with a tidy 3.47 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 1,521 strikeouts in 1,571 innings pitched in 279 games. In particular, he appears to have rediscovered his dominant form with the Minnesota Twins in the past two seasons in which he had gone 16-13 with a 2.90 ERA, 142 ERA+ and 1.14 WHIP with 300 strikeouts in 303 2/3 innings of work.
In addition to being named an All-Star for the third time in his career, his strong performance helped lead the Twins this year to their first postseason berth since 2020.
Gray will be 34 by the time 2024 rolls around, but he appears to be still going strong, utilizing a good complement of pitches to go along with his fastball. He might not be as intimidating and tantalizing as Nola with his strikeouts, but he certainly gets the job done. Gray would be a safe, value pick for the Phillies from the starting pitching free agency crop.