For the St. Louis Cardinals, there are plenty of questions to be answered this offseason after another disappointing postseason exit.
After winning the National League Central, the St. Louis Cardinals seemed to be in a good position to win their first postseason series since 2019. However, despite having home-field advantage over the Philadelphia Phillies in the Wild Card round, the Cardinals were swept in two games, ending their season and the Hall of Fame careers of Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols.
So what comes next for St. Louis? The decisions made in the offseason will determine the short-term direction of a team looking for answers on how to solve its October inadequacies.
3 burning questions for the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason
3. What to do at catcher?
With Molina retiring, St. Louis will look to find his replacement for 2023 and beyond. With a career that began in 2004, it may be hard for Cardinals fans to think about someone behind the plate besides “Yadi,” but whoever takes over that position will be a key player for the Cardinals next season, both in terms of offense and handling a pitching staff that could be well established (more about that later).
There has been plenty of talk linking Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras to the Cardinals. The free agent will be the biggest name on the catching market this offseason, and there are plenty of reasons why he would come to St. Louis.
However, the Cubs will likely put a qualifying offer on him, meaning the Cardinals or any other team would have to give up a draft pick to sign him. While it may not be much, it’s something to consider when looking at the St. Louis catching vacancy.
Andrew Knizner will be back with the organization next season, but his .215/.301/.300 slash line in 293 plate appearances in 2022 demonstrated why St. Louis needs to look externally for catching help.
Will the Cardinals go all in on Contreras or use the money elsewhere and find more of a stopgap behind the plate until 22-year-old Iván Herrera (the seventh-ranked prospect for the Cardinals) is ready to take over?