What is next for the St. Louis Cardinals?
Immediately after the Nolan Arenado trade, the question surrounding the St. Louis Cardinals shifted toward, “What’s next?” The obvious move, of course, was to re-sign Yadier Molina, and the team did so Monday by agreeing to a one-year, $9 million deal to bring back the All-Star catcher.
But now that Molina is back, the Cardinals are unlikely to make any additional significant moves – unless the price for the remaining free agents comes down to a point where they are comfortable adding to their current payroll. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said that most, if not all their upcoming additions, will be non-roster invites.
The one exception could be free-agent starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi. He is currently seeking a multi-year deal, with a reasonable projection being in the $13 million range. He would give the Cardinals another frontline starter to put in the rotation, vaulting them even further past the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs in the National League Central. It remains to be seen, however, if it would allow them to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, two teams that have established themselves as the biggest threats in the NL.
The most likely scenario is that the Cardinals keep the current roster as is and allow themselves financial flexibility for additions at the trade deadline. There figures to be solid bullpen arms on the block, as there are every year, and most likely outfielders available in case any of their current starters struggle. But they first want to see what they have in the outfield with Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson, two young talented players, before considering any significant external additions.
But unless something drastically changes, the roster the Cardinals currently have entering spring training will be the one they enter Opening Day with. And considering where this roster stood only a couple weeks ago, that is a big win for Mozeliak and the front office.