Signing Willson Contreras instead of trading for Sean Murphy
Speaking of not signing a pitcher, part of that was due to the major dollars that were being shelled out to free-agent catcher Willson Contreras. Now, don't hear me as saying I think Contreras is a bad player or a bad signing in general, but for what the Cardinals needed and how they decided to handle the rest of their offseason, a Sean Murphy trade makes way more sense in hindsight.
Contreras has really struggled at the plate this year, although he's started to come on as of late. The whole debacle with his catching duties was a mess the Cardinals created, but I guarantee it would not have happened with Murphy behind the plate. Contreras is not the source of the Cardinals' pitching woes, but he's not a part of the solution either.
Murphy, on the other hand, is one of the best defensive catcher's in today's game. Not only that, but he's playing like an MVP candidate this season as well, slashing .290/.388/.531 with 12 HR and 43 RBI.
Trading for Murphy would have cost a lot. It likely would have meant parting with one of Nolan Gorman or Brendan Donovan, paired with one of Dylan Carlson, Gordon Graceffo, Alec Burleson, or Juan Yepez. But getting that kind of production at catcher is worth a haul for St. Louis.
It also would have freed them up cash flow-wise to upgrade their rotation, add bullpen pieces, or even pursue some stability in their outfield...which we'll look at on the next slide.