Cardinals rumors: Japan recruitment, free agent reunions targeted, possible trade chips

  • The Cardinals may hold on trades
  • John Mozeliak is putting together his free agency wish list with one category taking top priority
  • Cardinals players are in Japan recruiting a top free agent

World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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The St. Louis Cardinals can see a devastating 2023 as an opportunity for retooling and coming back stronger if they approach the offseason the right way. The one advantage team president of baseball operations has with an early offseason is a longer on-ramp to nail down the team's strategy for the winter.

It sounds like, just ahead of GM meetings in November, the strategy is coming close to crystalized. Here's the latest on key reports and whispers having to do with the Cardinals.

Cardinals may play trades conservatively

The Cards were more aggressive than usual at the MLB trade deadline this year, sending out Jordan Montgomery, Jordan Hicks, Paul DeJong and Jack Flaherty. While the Cardinals opted to hold onto most of its big-name players on the offensive side, they wisely looked at expiring contracts and moved players where appropriate.

Clearly, even though the Cardinals didn't move key offensive players, the willingness to do so was more open this year than normal, with Nolan Arenado even discussed as part of framework in deals that didn't go through.

For a short while, there was also reason to believe the Cardinals may actually consider trading Paul Goldschmidt, too, though his no-trade clause may have made those efforts futile in the end anyway.

Neither a trade involving Arenado nor Goldschmidt came to bear, and it seems as though the Cardinals are likely done trading... For now.

Katie Woo of The Athletic (subscription required) reported on the Cardinals offseason thus far and indicated a few key things about the Cardinals trade appetite:

  • Players with no-trade clauses highly unlikely to be moved: Goldschmidt, Arenado, Willson Contreras
  • Cardinals won't entertain trade offers for Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn
  • Obvious not on trade list: Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan
  • Tommy Edman, Nolan Gorman are on "fair game" list with everyone else, but tough to see them getting moved

With such a limited set of players that will be considered in trades, it's far more likely that any deals St. Louis is involved in this offseason are fringe at best.