St. Louis Cardinals: What to expect in the Winter Meetings
The St. Louis Cardinals enter the Winter Meetings with many holes and unanswered questions. What will the team do?
This week, teams and agents would have flown to Dallas, Texas for the Baseball Winter Meetings. Instead, they will be held virtually with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage across the country.
While the setting will not be the same, and will force teams and agents to get creative while negotiating, the St. Louis Cardinals’ needs remain the same. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak has a lot of work to do addressing his club and has yet to make a move in free agency.
Here is a primer of what Mozeliak will look to do, where he will look to address the roster and what’s to come.
Getting clarity on Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright markets.
This is where the Cardinals’ offseason begins, and over a month into the winter, there is no clarity on either of their statues. Molina’s market is said to be aggressive with five teams reportedly in the mix. Wainwright’s market, however, has been silent after early interest from the Atlanta Braves.
The feel has always been that Molina is the most likely of the two to return, but he is seeking a two-year deal and it is unknown if Mozeliak will make such a commitment. The team has begun to check in on outside options, such as James McCann, and appear highly unlikely to be involved in the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes.
But the Winter Meetings should provide clarity on how realistic it is to re-sign Molina. Once they have that, the Cardinals should be able to begin seriously exploring upgrades to other parts of their roster.
Upgrading the offense.
This is something our Matt Graves recently wrote, and he mentioned David Dahl as a fit after he was surprisingly non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies.
The offense, however, needs more consistency across the board, especially legitimate options to pair alongside Paul Goldschmidt. But the top options – Realmuto and George Springer – will be out of their price range. And with the Cardinals operating under financial constraints, it is far more likely the team goes looking for value rather than spending big money.
The good news for Mozeliak, of course, is that the market is flush with options to upgrade the offense. There will be some teams who jump the market to land the players they want, but most teams plan to sit back and wait until January to start making these additions at a bargain rate. And it’s likely the Cardinals will be one of those teams unless an option too good to pass up presents itself.
Addressing the rotation.
The Cardinals face questions within the rotation. Wainwright is a free agent, Dakota Hudson is out for the year and Carlos Martinez appears to be a prime trade candidate.
The team has internal options such as Johan Oviedo, Austin Gomber and Daniel Ponca de Leon, but Mozeliak appears likely to add at least one veteran starting pitcher. Entering the season with a young rotation, especially when the team hopes to remain in contention, might prove too risky for St. Louis.
The question is who could the team pursue? The top free agents will be out of their price range and the Cardinals have not been among the most aggressive teams pursuing starters this winter. Their options should come into focus at the Winter Meetings, but entering a crucial week in the offseason, the team has far more many questions than answers.