The Winter Meetings are over and the Cardinals have a few new players. Let’s recap where they stand and what else they need.
With Willson Contreras in the fold, the Cardinals are able to move on to other positions. While they were originally tied to Dansby Swanson, that is probably off the table; the money for Swanson isn’t there any more, as he was the plan if they traded for a catcher. Now the Cardinals will probably shift to a trade for anyone else they add unless it’s low hanging fruit.
The team will add a little depth to the bench still. I doubt they get an infielder of Swanson’s caliber though (Carlos Correa is not an option); just hearing his name was surprising. They’ll also sign a few low ceiling pitchers, most likely on minor league deals.
We did learn what the Athletics wanted for Sean Murphy: Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, and Gordon Graceffo. That’s quite and ask. Noot wouldn’t be the hardest to replace, but the Cardinals like their utility players and Donovan has a lot of value right now. Graceffo looks like a potential high end pitcher, but it’s hard to project which pitching prospects are going to make it (see Alex Reyes).
Rule V Results
The Cardinals did add a reliever in the Rule V draft: Wilking Rodriguez from the New York Yankees. Rodriguez hasn’t pitched in the United States since 2015, where he topped out at AAA. He pitched in Mexico for a few years before signing a minor league deal at the end of 2022 with the New York. The Cardinals took him because he’s throwing 100 MPH out of the bullpen. He had a 2.01 ERA in 44.2 innings last season, along with 17 saves and 73 strikeouts. Just for the record, the Mexican League is a hitters league.
He’s a surprising pick because many teams will take a flyer on a 33 year old pitcher. The Cardinals like the upside and are willing to give up $100k and a roster spot to see what they got. Between him and Guillermo Zuniga, they have a couple of low risk, high upside pitchers.
Alvarez is more of utility player, as he logged time behind the plate, in the outfield, at first, and a solo appearance on the mound last season; he also jumped around between Lo A, Hi A, AA, and AAA. He has an OK bat but does strike out about 25% of the time.
Komar is a little more rough. He’s a durable pitcher with decent stuff; he just struggles to control it. The Padres started the conversion to the bullpen in 2022 and saw better results in his numbers.
Martinez has a low-90s fastball that can touch mid-90s in short stints, a good change, and an average curve. He’s just struggled to turn those pitches into results. He has barely pitched above AA. The Cards are hoping that a change of scenery will help.
Shreve has been a bullpen pitcher for a few seasons now, and while the results are OK, he hadn’t progressed in the Twins system.
They didn’t lose anyone in the MLB portion, and lost 3B Evan Mendoza (San Diego Padres) in the MiLB portion. Mendoza was system filler, so it’s no real loss for the team.
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