Is Gray a bona fide ace? No, but they are a lot harder to acquire even with an inflated St. Louis budget as some fans seem to think. Blake Snell has two Cy Youngs separated by a four-year “decent I guess” pitching arc, so I wouldn’t call him a legit ace. The Yankees didn’t exactly trade away an ace in Jordan Montgomery back in 2022, but he pitched like one for the Rangers down the half this past season, all the way to a World Series. But is he an ace now? Debatable.
Aaron Nola is more of an ace than any of the crop, but he wasn’t even ACE-enough for any competing teams to outbid his preferred landing spot of Philadelphia. Where are you finding an ace? Older Max Scherzer cost the New York Mets so much money, they didn’t even keep him for two full seasons. While I respect the translatable talents of Japan pitchers, Yoshinobu Yamamoto isn’t an M.L.B. ace just yet. It costs big dollars just for the opportunity to sign him, but that doesn’t make him an ace.