4 times the Cardinals went after some of the best players in free agency

While the Cardinals are not thought of as big spenders in free agency, John Mozeliak has shown the willingness to go to the top end of the free agent market
Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
4 of 5

Willson Contreras

Here's an example that actually gives me a lot of confidence that the Cardinals will back up their words when it comes to acquiring starting pitching talent.

Going into the 2022 offseason, Mozeliak and the Cardinals' front office made it abundantly clear to all of baseball that they needed to get a new starting catcher that offseason. They didn't even try to suggest that Andrew Knizner or Ivan Herrea could be the solution for them. Honestly, it may have made things harder for them since every agent and front office knew the Cardinals were backed up into a corner.

While the Cardinals balked at the asking price of the Oakland Athletics for Sean Murphy, to their credit, they pivoted to the best possible free agent available in Contreras and gave him a five-year, $87.5 million deal to become their new catcher. It's not a massive deal when compared to the kinds of deals that are handed out to top free agents today, but that much money over five years to a catcher is certainly a risk.

The Cardinals did not show up after the offseason saying they tried their best but the market was too high, and instead went bargain shopping or turned to players they viewed as "lesser options" internally. No, they went out and got one of the best players available to fill the need they had.