The St. Louis Cardinals have different directions they could go this winter, but should they sign, trade, or hold steady at each of their offseason targets?
We are just a few days removed from the conclusion of the 2022 World Series, and rumors are already rampant as to what upgrades the St. Louis Cardinals should, or should not, make this coming offseason.
Even with multiple different positions they could target, the question arises as to whether or not the team should fill that need through free agency, the trade market, or an internal option. Most expect the club to go with a mix of these routes, but where they choose to invest money, trade assets, and who to bank on internally will determine a lot of how this team looks in 2023.
With that being said, let’s look at each of the rumored roster targets (catcher, shortstop, front-line starter, bullpen, outfield, and designated hitter) to determine whether the Cardinals should sign, trade for, or look within their organization for the 2023 season.
Already identified by John Mozeliak as one of the club’s biggest external needs, its clear that the Cardinals will need to bring in a new starting catcher, whether its through trade or free agency.
The Cardinals are consistently linked on the free agent market to division rival Willson Contreras, who would provide a major upgrade offensively for the club. Other names like Christian Vazquez, Tucker Barnhardt, and Martin Maldonado have been linked to St. Louis as well due to their elite skills behind the plate.
While the Cardinals certainly could not go wrong bringing in Contreras, or making big moves elsewhere and signing one of those other names, the trade market appears to be the best use of resources to get an upgrade behind the plate while saving money for other splashy moves.
Oakland’s Sean Murphy or one of Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk or Danny Jensen make a ton of sense for St. Louis. The Cardinals have plenty of young talent to deal from, and in Toronto’s case, one of their starting outfielders may be extremely appealing to them. All three of these names would be major upgrades for St. Louis, while not having to break the bank financially. Murphy and Kirk specifically would cost a lot of assets, but would be a worthwhile move for the club, especially if it means spending big money elsewhere.