What do the recent moves say about where the Cardinals go from here?
Just to recap, the first moves were the players we let go since the last day of the season. Andrew Knizner Jake Woodford, Juan Yepez, Dakota Hudson, Packy Naughton, Conner Thomas, Wilking Rodriguez.
Players added since the end of last season: Riley O’Brian (P) from Seattle for cash, Jared Young (1B) claimed off waivers. The big free agent signing to date was Lance Lynn for one year, $11 million.
Added to the 40-man roster are Pedro Pages (C), and Adam Kloffenstein (P).
What happened last year? The only ones released were Aaron Brooks (P), Alex Reyes (P), and Ben Deluzio (OF).
First, this may be a sign that the front office is changing the way they look at the roster. Last year we hung on to everyone thinking that even the non-performers would have bounce back years. Or, we did not want to make the same mistakes we made in the past by letting go of a player who might turn out to be Randy Arozarena, Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, or Adolis Garcia.
By letting go of Knizner (5 years), Hudson (6 years), and Woodford (4 years) It looks like they are less likely now to have the ‘hope for the best” approach. It could also mean they are finally ready to move on from players who may never reach their full potential with the Cardinals.
Looking at just the move behind the plate, they had a catcher in Iván Herrera who made great strides last year with the back, and his improvement behind the plate. This is from MLB.com:
“Cardinals evaluators have become most enamored with Herrera’s improved ability to tap into his power over the last two seasons and believe an improved overall approach has helped in that realm. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound backstop could be around a 15-homer hitter in the bigs at his peak, and together with a solid overall bat, that would provide a good amount of value at such a premium position.
St. Louis officials have also always been hopeful that Herrera could grow into a solid performer behind the plate. That seems to have kicked into overdrive this year in Memphis, where coaches think working with more veteran pitchers has solidified Herrera’s place as a potential above-average defender. He’s capable of showing a 55-grade arm too, though he’s thrown out only four of 23 attempted base stealers so far in 2022.”
This tells me they have started to look at more of a higher upside for Herrera than the solid dependable work of Knizner. Is this a change in philosophy?
Could that be where they are going with the pitching? They knew what Hudson and Woodford could add to this roster. Is there more value in replacing Hudson with Lance Lynn? Looking at the last few years, the answer is absolutely. Is he better than Montgomery or Flaherty, maybe not but he will be an upgrade over Wainwright.
Based on some of these moves so far what does that mean for others that the Cardinals have kept around? What about Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson? If the new pattern is real, then you are looking at two players that have some trade value and they will be gone too.
By clearing out what is considered duplicate pieces and freeing up salary could this mean that the Cardinals are setting themselves up to make that one big move that changes how fans feel about this team?
Could the Cardinals be ready to change the direction of this franchise in a big way?
Could these be all the steps that are needed to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto? This one signing would change the look of the Cardinals in a big way. They could fit him into this year’s budget and next year there is $26 million that will be freed up if we don’t resign Paul Goldschmidt. The money is there, the need is there and it looks like the Cardinals are putting themselves in a position to make a big move now.