With the St. Louis Cardinals seemingly using this season to set their 2024 needs, they seem to have lost interest in certain players remaining a part of the club beyond 2023.
Given their desperate need for pitching, the Cardinals still had high hopes for a successful 2023 season, even without acquiring pitching. Just four months into the season, at the trade deadline, Cardinals president John Mozeliak finally acknowledged the team should have done more to acquire pitching rather than depend on undependable arms.
This offseason, the Cardinals will continue to bolster their roster. While the Cardinals could use a veteran outfielder, Mozeliak will primarily look for pitching. He has said that he's looking for at least three starting pitchers. He has even acknowledged knowing they will need more than the usual five-man rotation going into future seasons.
The team seems to be narrowing down some players, but they will keep moving forward. It's becoming obvious who the Cardinals haven't seen in recent games, which they may be preparing to part ways with via trade.
Let's discuss who the Cardinals may part ways with at the end of the season to bolster their roster.
Ivan Herrera seems to have lost interest of the Cardinals
Herrera was once the heir apparent to Yadier Molina as Cardinals catcher once the legend retired.
Andrew Knizner struggled during parts of the 2022 season, and the Cardinals gave Herrera a shot to stand out and take that role while Molina was away from the team on personal business. Instead of impressing, Herrera was disappointed and looked like he needed to return to AAA Memphis to continue improving.
Herrera did use that time to improve but it appears to be too late.
After the 2022 season, the Cardinals quickly signed the top-available free-agent catcher Willson Contreras. He signed a five-year $87.5 million contract to be the Cardinals catcher. While there have been some struggles, Andrew Knizner has been an incredible backup, even starting the position while Contreras is the team's designated hitter.
Knizner had a severe injury, which did allow Herrera to come up. Herrera hit .348/.423/.391 with an OPS of .814. He's also performed very well at Memphis, hitting .296/.444/.493 and an OPS of .937. He's had 25 doubles, one triple, nine HRs, 60 runs scored and 56 RBI.
It seemed like Herrera would undoubtedly return to St. Louis at some point this summer to build on his outstanding performance, but this has yet to happen, making it easy to assume the Cardinals are keeping him safe in Memphis to use as a trade chip this offseason.
Knizner has been a keen backup to Contreras and is a beloved teammate. It's easy to see why they would want to keep Kiz around. Herrera's talent could also be a nice chip in a potential trade.