The Winter Meetings start today and I expect the Cardinals to leave with their catcher and little else. The team still wants Jose Quintana. And a look at some links from around the web.
Catching a Catcher
Late Sunday night, rumors started to come out that Oakland Athletics’ catcher Sean Murphy was on the move. Originally, it was listed that the Braves were the likely destination; it’s since come out that they are standing pat for now with Travis d’Arnaud, William Contreras, and Manny Pina as their backstops. It’s expected that Murphy is moved before the end of the meetings.
The Cardinals have also reached out to the Blue Jays about their available catchers: Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk, and Gabriel Moreno. They also have spoke with free agent Willson Contreras, while they are checking out Christian Vazquez, Omar Narvaez, and Mike Zunino.
Off these options, there is no perfect choice. The Cardinals haven’t been known to make a big free agent splash; with draft pick compensation on the line for Contreras, that might hinder his appeal. Narvaez is a horrible defender, while Zunino is the opposite; Vazquez is somewhere in them middle. I like the trade options better, but Murphy might cost a top prospect like Jordan Walker or Masyn Winn. Jansen might be the best pick; he’s a good defender (which is needed to be the heir to Yadi) and took a step forward with the bat. He’s got 2 years of control left, so the Cardinals can see if Ivan Herrera takes a step forward in Memphis this year and have a year of split time with Jansen in 2024. The Blue Jays are looking for a mid-rotation starter and an outfielder; a deal around Tyler O’Neill and Matthew Liberatore could do it with a prospect added in.
Jose Quintana On The Radar
I was surprised to hear the team was still interested in reuniting with Jose Quintana; as of right now, the Cardinals rotation consists of Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson, and Liberatore, along with guys like Andre Pallante, Genesis Cabrera, Zack Thompson, and Jake Woodford who could all be starters if given the chance.
That’s why trading a starter (or 2) would make way for Quintana to return. Hudson and Liberatore would be the 2 most attractive options; both are young still and have potential. I doubt anyone would want to take on Matz right now; for the contract, they’d want to see if he’s healthy. Flaherty could be a trade option; he’s got another year after 2023, but seems destined to leave the Cardinals for the west coast.
Quintana would be a welcome addition to the staff; outside of Mikolas, there are various degrees of question marks: age (Waino), health (Flaherty, Matz), effectiveness (Montgomery [who faded at the end of the season], Hudson, Liberatore).
Other Winter Meeting Stuff
Outside of catcher, we can expect to hear about the Cardinals talking to players and nothing major getting done; maybe a depth piece or 2, a reliever, and some minor league deals. We’ll see other teams make a splash and Cardinal fans on complain about “DeWallet” and how the team never makes a big splash.
I believe the catching trade happens; historically, the Cardinals have traded for Paul Goldschmidt, Wainwright/Ray King/Jason Marquis, Edgar Renteria, Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers (who ended up being traded away before playing a game), and Bruce Sutter. The free agent signings haven’t been as fruitful; they brought in Jason Isringhausen and Darrell Porter as bigger deals, and they signed Chris Carpenter, which ended up becoming a big deal once he was healthy.
We’ll see minor moves in the Rule V Draft; we might lose Inohan Paniagua or Dionys Rodriguez in the MLB portion. They could consider a bench player or relief pitcher in the MLB portion. They’ll lose a guy or 2 in the minors, while grabbing 2 from other organizations.
Around the Web
- Viva El Birdos explains why the Cardinals don’t need a shortstop while Clutchpoint checks out a Dansby Swanson rumor.
- Redbird Rants, Viva El Birdos, and The Cold Wire preview the Winter Meetings.
- Ryan Loutos is the Cardinals Nations #40 prospect.
- The Cardinal Nation 24/7 looks at potential outfield options.
- Cards Conclave continues their Exit Interview series with John Mozeliak.
- Call To The Pen explores a Cardinals/Athletics trade for Murphy.
- The Cardinals Top Prospect Report according to Baseball America.