How do the St. Louis Cardinals stack up with Willson Contreras?
By Josh Jacobs
The Cardinals made a major addition to their roster in the form of Willson Contreras. How does the team stack up now?
To the surprise of some and relief of many, the St. Louis Cardinals decided to go big with their answer to the catcher position, signing Willson Contreras to a 5-year, $87.5 million deal at the Winter Meetings.
Contreras takes on the pressure and expectations that will come with replacing a Cardinal legend in Yadier Molina, who was the club’s primary catcher for almost two decades. The 30-year old brings a whole different look to the catching position for St. Louis, boasting a big bat that can bolster the middle of their order and provide protection for Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.
While there were strong indications that the Cardinals would acquire a catcher like Sean Murphy or one of the Blue Jays catchers via trade this off-season, it appears that the price point for those guys were more than what St. Louis felt comfortable trading. Instead of trading away the likes of Nolan Gorman or Lars Nootbaar along with more prospects, they opted to pay Contreras an AAV of $17.5 million per year instead. The club does lose their 2nd round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft due to Contreras receiving the qualifying offer.
While there are so many different opinions on this deal for the Cardinals, no signing or trade is done in a vacuum. A lot of this deal’s success will be predicated on how the Cardinals fill out their roster in 2023 and beyond.
Where do the Cardinals stand now with the addition of Contreras? What does their lineup look like? Where does their budget and assets fit into potential acquisitions?