Andrew Knizner or Ivan Herrera
Here's an interesting one. The Cardinals did not need to add Pedro Pages to their 40-man roster, but now that they have, they are currently carrying four catchers there, something they don't typically do.
I've pointed to Andrew Knizner as a non-tender candidate this offseason, as the Cardinals could save a little over $2 million and allow Ivan Herrera to take over that role. Knizner was solid for stretches in 2023, but overall, he's just a solid backup catcher.
Knizner is loved within the clubhouse though, so I'm not sure the Cardinals will make the hard decision to part ways with him soon. Don't get me wrong, he really is a solid backup, but he's not good enough to block Herrera any longer.
Herrera had an excellent 2023 season, slashing .297/.409/.351 in his 44 plate appearances for St. Louis. He also mashed for Triple-A Memphis, posting a .951 OPS in 83 games. Herrera has been a promising prospect within the Cardinals system for a while now, and there's really no reason to make him spend any more time in the minor leagues.
The Cardinals also need to think long-term here. They are committing to Willson Contreras as their catcher in 2024, but it's still a very real possibility that he begins to DH more and more in the coming years, and with Knizner arbitration eligible now, it makes a lot of sense to turn the reigns to the up-and-coming Herrera.
Even with Contreras being the primary catcher, there are still plenty of starts at catcher to go around, so I'd much rather have Herrera taking those than Knizner. Gone are the days when Yadier Molina would catch almost every game and the backup catcher would hope to play once a week. Herrera would likely start 2-3 times a week, giving him plenty of opportunity to shine.
If the Cardinals choose to keep Knizner, they do not have to get rid of Herrera as he has one more option left, but I do think it could mean they are open to moving him in a deal for pitching. I'd keep Herrera, but we'll see what the Cardinals do.