The Cardinals and Marlins have what each other needs in a trade
Herrera is just 23 years old and has been one of the Cardinals' best-performing prospects so far in 2023.
In 162 at-bats in Triple-A this year, he's hitting .296 with 6 HR and 34 RBI while positing a .956 OPS. His bat is mashing and would provide immense value for a big-league club. Herrera was fast-tracked to St. Louis last year because of how desperate the Cardinals were for catching help, and he's proving that he's still a very valuable prospect despite what seemed like a down 2022.
Why would the Cardinals part with a high-performing prospect like Herrera? Well, there are multiple reasons why they could value him highly as a trade asset right now.
First, Willson Contreras is in year one of a five year deal. It's very easy to rag on him right now with the slump he is going through, but the Cardinals really want, and honestly need, Contreras to be the kind of catcher who can perform most days of the week, at least for the first two or three years of his deal. They also really like what Andrew Knizner brings to their clubhouse and as a backup catcher. While I am sure they think Herrera will be better than Knizner, he may just not have a lot of opporunitiy in the near future.
St. Louis also has other catching prospects they are excited about right now, with the first one being Leonardo Bernal, a 19-year-old playing in Class-A Palm Beach. He is currently their 9th-ranked prospect on MLB.com, but many outlets think even higher of him long-term. He is just 19 and in Class-A though, so there is a long way to go in his development. They also have Jimmy Crooks III, a 21-year-old catcher in High-A Peoria who was drafted in the 4th round last year. He tore up Class-A last year and has been struggling a bit in High-A, but he has less than 100 minor-league games under his belt. Both players have an ETA of 2025.
For Miami, the prospect of getting a young, controllable catcher like Herrera should be very appealing for them. Miami has a wealth of young starting pitchers that would intrigue the Cardinals, which is where I think this deal would eventually go. The two names that come to mind for me are Jesus Luzardo and Edward Cabrera. Luzardo is in year one of arbitration and does not hit free agency until 2027, while Cabrera isn't expected to hit arbitration until 2026. Both arms have a lot of potential, but the Marlins could part with the opportunity to improve their lineup in multiple areas.
Here is a trade package I think could work for both sides