MLB Insider: What the Willson Contreras injury means for Cardinals short and long-term

New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

With the news that Willson Contreras has a fractured left forearm and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, the St. Louis Cardinals are in a precarious position.

They are without their All-Star catcher long-term when their season is headed off the tracks, sitting at 15-21 and in sole possession of last place in the National League Central. The 2024 season was pivotal for the Cardinals, both in the short- and long-term, and if the season continues trending this way, many tough questions will need to be asked.

Could the St. Louis Cardinals become trade deadline sellers after Willson Contreras injury?

If the Cardinals continue to slide during the regular season, they become obvious sellers at the trade deadline. Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn are trade candidates for teams needing rental options. Miles Mikolas and Ryan Helsley both figure to draw trade interest. Could the team entertain trade inquiries for Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado? Brandon Crawford, a shortstop likely in the final season of his career, could draw some looks from teams needing a veteran infielder.

The most pressing, of course, will be the futures of manager Oli Marmol and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. Marmol signed a two-year contract extension before the 2024 season, so any decision to potentially part ways comes with complications. Mozeliak’s contract runs through the 2025 season, though Chaim Bloom looms as a serious in-house candidate to replace him, and could make parting ways during or after this season easier for team ownership.

Will the St. Louis Cardinals fire Oli Marmol?

If the Cardinals do fire Marmol, they have two managerial candidates to consider in Skip Schumaker and Alex Cora. Both are free agents at the end of the year and have ties to the organization; Schumaker played in St. Louis from 2005-2012 and also served as the team’s bench coach. Cora, meanwhile, was the manager under Cardinals executive Chaim Bloom with the Boston Red Sox and Bloom is a logical - and maybe likely - replacement for president of baseball operations John Mozeliak.

Things were already trending toward massive changes in St. Louis. But with Contreras now sidelined, the Cardinals’ task to getting back on track became infinitely more difficult, and made sweeping changes even more likely.