3 former Cardinals we'll miss this season and 2 we'll bid good riddance to

Several players have left the St. Louis Cardinals via the trade deadline or offseason moves. Some of them will be sorely missed, but others' departures won't faze many fans.

San Diego Padres v St Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres v St Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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We'll miss you!: Andrew Knizner

Andrew Knizner sharpened his tools at the feet of one of the greatest backstops ever to play the game. After backing up Yadier Molina for two full seasons and Willson Contreras for one, Knizner was not tendered a contract for 2024 as the Cardinals decided that Ivan Herrera was the future at the position. Knizner signed with Texas Rangers in November.

Knizner had the best season of his career in 2023, hitting .241 with 10 home runs, showing that he could be a serviceable backup catcher in the league. The Cardinals' decision not to offer him a contract was understandable given Herrera's youth and the emergence of catcher Pedro Pages in Double-A Springfield last season.

With Knizner out of the picture, Molina's main protege won't be around to instruct Herrera. Despite Molina's new role as a special assistant to John Mozeliak, the legendary former catcher himself is also not going to be present for most or all of Spring Training to impart his wisdom to Herrera or Contreras.

Herrera deserves to have a long look in the major leagues after only 66 career plate appearances. His performance in the Caribbean Series was highly encouraging, and his presence would leave Knizner with few opportunities. Nevertheless, losing Knizner might sting a bit given his whimsical personality and ability to handle a pitching staff.

Many times, a player isn't fully appreciated until he's gone. That looked to be the case with Molina after the front office became utterly lost during the first season after his retirement, and it can occur with fans too. Other times, players just don't live up the standards expected of them and fans lose patience. Whatever the situation, these Cardinals will look to reach new highs in their new (and apparently very uncomfortable) uniforms.

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