Redbird Droppings, looking at former Cardinals, Ivan Herrera, the 2024 draft, and more.
After such a rough season, I needed to step away from the Cardinals. Too many things went wrong this years, and hearing the constant criticism of the team, front office, and ownership just really takes a toll. But I’m back with some end of season stuff.
Former Cardinals In The Post-Season
People have been very quick to point out what former Cardinals (or farmhands) have been participating the post-season, so here’s a quick list of everyone so far.
- Astros: None
- Blue Jays: Jordan Hicks, Genesis Cabrera
- Braves: Marcell Ozuna
- Brewers: None
- Diamondbacks: Zac Gallen, Tommy Pham
- Dodgers: Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Kolten Wong, Jason Heyward, David Peralta
- Marlins: None
- Orioles: Jack Flaherty, Ramon Urias
- Phillies: Edmundo Sosa
- Rangers: Chris Stratton, Jordan Montgomery, Adolis Garcia
- Rays: Randy Arozarena
- Twins: Donovan Solano
The common stories around these guys have been about the Cardinals letting Garcia and Arozarena go and about the rising price tag around Montgomery.
The Garcia/Arozarena thing has been run into the ground. The Cardinals got nothing for Garcia; they felt the guys they had ahead of him would make more of an MLB impact. It’s worth noting the Rangers did too at one point, designating him for assignment before resigning him to a minor league deal; no one else must have wanted him either as all other 29 teams passed on claiming him.
The Arozarena deal isn’t done yet, but it’s not looking as good for the Cardinals. Matthew Liberatore has shown flashes that he can pitch at the MLB level, but hasn’t put it all together yet.
Montgomery is the real story; he’s been electric this October, which is pushing up his price tag for his next contract. The Cardinals are among a handful of team interested, but he’s looking like he’s headed for a big market team that will throw money at him (the Dodgers or Yankees are my top landing places for him). He would have been a huge part of 2024’s rotation if the team would have approached him in the spring, when he was interested in signing an extension.
You Win Some, You Lose Some
Baseball is a funny game. As I mentioned already, some fans are really sticking it to John Mozeliak for sending out Garcia, the ALCS MVP, and Arozarena; every GM has players they miss on and other players they steal. Nolan Arenado was a hit; Ozuna was a miss. Mo got Matt Holliday from 3 guys who never did anything.
Every GM makes a bad trade; every GM lets the wrong player walk. Rather than complaining about it, deal with it and hope the team learns from it. Question if the team has the right front office people to eliminate a mistake like this again. There have been multiple issues recently about the Cardinals front office that makes me doubt it.
Extra Options For Herrera
It was announced recently that Ivan Herrera will have an extra option for 2024, meaning the Cardinals could send him to the minors if he’s not making the MLB roster. It was assumed that Herrera was out of option for next season, meaning it’s either him or Andrew Knizner on the 26-man roster. Early rumors were Knizner was in and Herrera would be on the trading block; now the Cardinals can wait to see what the demand is for Herrera and if he’s wanted in a package for a starting pitcher.
Early Free Agency
The Cardinals have started trimming rosters over the last few weeks. The following players have been released or have declared free agents:
- Jose Alvarez, C/OF
- Tres Barrera, C
- Junior Chirinos, RHP
- Yonael Dominguez, RHP
- Thomas Francisco, 1B
- Chris Gerard, LHP
- Hayes Heinecke, LHP
- Francisco Hernandez, 3B
- Kenny Hernandez, LHP
- Matt Hickey, RHP
- Edgar Manzo, RHP
- Jose Moreno, RHP
- Taylor Motter, IF
- Chase Pinder, OF
- Tyler Reichenborn, OF
- Errol Robinson, IF
- Kramer Robertson, SS
- Cory Thompson, RHP
This whole list is pretty much organizational depth; sure, guys like Barrera, Motter, and Robertson have all seen MLB time over the last 2 years, but none factored into the future. These spots will go to the next wave of organization guys the Cardinals will bring in.
Some former Cardinals are in the same boat:
- Kyle Barraclough, RHP (Red Sox)
- Daniel Castano, RHP (Marlins)
- Nabil Crismatt, RHP (Diamondbacks)
- Jose Godoy, C (Orioles)
- Kevin Herget, RHP (Reds)
- Mike Mayers, LHP (White Sox)
- Brian O’Keefe, C (Mariners – outrighted, MiLB Free agent when it starts)
- Rafael Ortega, OF (Mets)
The Cardinals Arbitration Eligible Players
The Cardinals have 9 players who will be arbitration eligible (service time and projected earnings listed with the players):
- Jacob Barnes (5.112): $1MM
- Tyler O’Neill (5.059): $5.5MM
- Dakota Hudson (4.156): $3.7MM
- Tommy Edman (4.114): $6.5MM
- Ryan Helsley (4.105): $3MM
- Andrew Knizner (4.021): $2MM
- Dylan Carlson (3.104): $1.8MM
- Jake Woodford (3.048): $1.1MM
- JoJo Romero (3.045): $900K
I expect that the Cardinals will tender contracts to almost all of them. Barnes is probably not getting an offer. Hudson and Woodford are both borderline right now; they have their uses, but the team has guys to replace them in the system already. O’Neill could be dealt, even if the team says they won’t be dealing him.
An updated salary matrix will be done in the near future with these values included (here is the one from 2023).
Cardinal 2024 Draft Picks
The Cardinals are seeded 6th in the draft lottery, meaning they have the 6th worst record in baseball. In the past, that would automatically give them pick #6 in each round of the draft. Now that MLB has introduced the lottery, the Cardinals have the 5th best odds of getting the first overall pick.
The Cardinals could technically pick anywhere from first to 12th in the first round; they will pick in all subsequent round at #6. That is as along as they aren’t involved in the free agent market.
If they sign a free agent that received an qualifying offer, they will forfeit their 2nd highest pick and $500k form their international bonus pool. This is pretty likely, as they are interested in big name pitchers. They also signed one of these types of free agents last season when they signed Willson Contreras.
If they make a qualifying offer to one of their free agents and the player is signed by someone else, they will receive a pick between the competitive balance round B and the 3rd round. This is less likely; the may have offered Jack Flaherty and/or Jordan Hicks a potential 1-year deal, but they really don’t have another player they should take a chance on (Adam Wainwright and Drew Verhagen).
Based off the first lottery, there was some movement in picks:
|Team||Rank||#1 Percentage||Draft Pick|
Having the 5th best odds at #1 didn’t help the Royals at all, who dropped to 8th in the first round.
- JoJo Romero knee surgery
- Mike Shildt is a candidate for the Padres managerial position.
- Justin Williams is continuing his baseball career in the Middle East.
- The Cardinal Nation names it’s Pitcher of the Year – Max Rajcic.
- 90% chance that Yadier Molina will be back as a coach?
I’ll be running some of my typical year end articles – Source of WAR, grades, trade recaps. I’m also working on a scorecard for Mozeliak; it’s something I’ve tried in the past but never finished. I’ll be looking at accumulated WAR from his free agent signings, minor league signings, waivers, the draft, and trades. It’ll be interesting to see where he excels and where he struggles, while also seeing if his moves over the last few years has hurt the team.