Scenario #1 - The Athletics give into the Cardinals' offer
In this first scenario, Oakland would bring their insane asking price down and instead settle for what the Cardinals' wanted them to accept. Let's say in this scenario, they get three of those players: Nolan Gorman, Dylan Carlson, and Juan Yepez.
First, that is immediately a huge blow to the Cardinals lineup, as they lose their best hitter of the 2023 season so far in Gorman, as well as two very good bats in Burleson and Yepez. This would leave the Cardinals will multiple holes that need to be filled in their lineup, but in that same article for Goold, he alluding to the club's big-time answer to that problem.
Goold wrote that "had the Cardinals traded for a catcher, they would have used some of the payroll space saved to explore signing a shortstop". That shortstop was Dansby Swanson. I was firmly against the idea of Swanson all offseason, but so far this year, he's been pretty good at the plate for the Cubs and played stellar defense.
That likely means the Cardinals' lineup this year would have been the following...
- DH Brendan Donovan
- LF Lars Nootbaar
- 1B Paul Goldschmidt
- 3B Nolan Arenado
- SS Dansby Swanson
- C Sean Murphy
- CF Tyler O'Neill
- RF Jordan Walker
- 2B Tommy Edman
This is a vastly different lineup than what the Cardinals' have today, and a pretty big step back considering how good Contreras and Gorman have been at the plate this year. The counterargument, though, could be that pitching and run prevention may have improved significantly. While Contreras has been great a throwing out runners this season, the jury is still out on his game calling and pitch framing, two things that Murphy is incredible at, not to mention the defense Swanson provides up the middle.
The next scenario involves another major roster shakeup and another current Cub in the Cardinals' lineup