3 contract extensions the Cardinals should pursue, and 3 they should avoid (for now)

Jordan Walker
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A contract extension the Cardinals' should hold off on (for now): Lars Nootbaar

Nootbaar had a whirlwind start to his 2023 season. He went overseas and became an international superstar overnight with Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic. He helped Team Japan win it all but struggled mightily to help the Cardinals win when the MLB season began.

He had a pretty good season, even though he was sidelined several times due to injury.

With Tyler O'Neill getting traded to the Boston Red Sox, it is believed Nootbaar could be in the driver's seat to take over at left field, with Tommy Edman in center field and Jordan Walker at right field. Lots could happen over the next few weeks, though, so it should be interesting to see how it all shakes out for the Cardinal's defense.

It would be great to see how well Nootbaar does this season. He becomes arbitration-eligible after this season, and it would be awesome to see a great 2024 season turn into a solid contract for the young star.

A contract extension the Cardinals' should hold off on (for now): Nolan Gorman

Nolan Gorman has so much potential. But how healthy will he be this season and beyond? A lot really depends on that!

It's believed Gorman could play second base or be a designated hitter for the team. Last year, he was on the same track but spent some time on the injured list with lingering back issues. This off-season, the team had him alter his workout regimen. Hopefully, this works out better for Goman than it did when the same request was made for Tyler O'Neill. Gorman does seem more willing to accept coaching than O'Neill. I think this could work out well.

Gorman was on a pace to lead the team in home runs before his season ended due to injury. It should be fun to see how Gorman progresses over the coming weeks. He has a superstar slugger potential, which the Cardinals need. He becomes arbitration-eligible next season and will be a free agent in 2029. The Cardinals should see how the next season works out and consider a lengthy contract.

A contract extension the Cardinals' should hold off on (for now): Riley O'Brien

There's just something intriguing about Riley O'Brien. The Cardinals acquired the right-handed pitcher from the Seattle Mariners for cash considerations. What a bargain!

O'Brien has a little over two innings of Major League Baseball experience. When John Mozeliak promised "pitching, pitching, pitching" was the target of this offseason, a right-handed pitcher with less than five innings of total experience wasn't what fans bargained to see from their team.

Then fans learn that he has developed a sweeper pitch with a 21-inch horizontal break, which should grab your attention. O'Brien's potential then becomes a hot topic. He could start the season in AAA but break camp with St. Louis if he impresses. The team must give manager Oli Marmol and pitching coach Dusty Blake all the options.

This is more wishful thinking, but it would be wonderful if O'Brien were so impressive the Cardinals were forced to sign him long-term to keep him around. Having a relief pitcher with this potential is incredibly ideal for the Cardinals after all of the relievers were taxed due to having to go multiple innings over multiple days in a row, thanks to a starting rotation that was also taxed.

The Cardinals will likely give him all the opportunities this season to succeed and see what happens from there for the pitcher.