The Cardinals will be looking to reduce payroll this offseason, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be participating in the hot stove season.
“After this very odd and strange year we’ve been through, we’ve learned some things and we still have some questions,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “I think the strength of this team going into next year is still going to be our pitching. We have a lot of depth for our rotation. It just depends on what happens with our own internal free agents. And then as far as the outfield goes, clearly we’ve got to find consistency and offensive production.”
As Mozeliak said above, the Cardinals need consistent outfield production. That will be their priority this offseason, both internally and externally via trade or free agency. George Springer is the headliner free agent for the outfield this offseason, and he would fit well in the Cardinals’ roster, but they will likely go for power at a lower price point. They will get creative with spending in a year with a likely reduction in payroll.
Names like Joc Pederson, who mashes right-handed pitching, Adam Eaton or Jackie Bradley Jr. jump out here. Slugger Marcell Ozuna is a free agent again, but a reunion with the Cardinals seems unlikely. There will likely be a few free agents that are added to this list today was the non-tender deadline is today. Players due for a raise in arbitration could hit the market or be used as trade chips for teams looking to cut costs in other ways.
Third base is another area that can be upgraded offensively. St. Louis needs hitters, generally, to inject power into a lineup that has struggled in recent years. This is its biggest need.
Unless the Cardinals re-sign Kolten Wong, Tommy Edman will be their everyday second baseman. Edmundo Sosa would be an internal candidate to take over a backup utility role then, but the Cardinals could also use this spot to get a bat — one that can hit for power or get on base for the middle of the lineup. Without Wong, the Cardinals will need to address their leadoff hitter and their defense this offseason.
The Cardinals want to re-sign Yadier Molina, but he is a free agent this year. Andrew Knizner is considered ready for the MLB so if Yadi goes elsewhere look for the organization to sign a veteran catcher to split with him.
The Cardinals want to do what’s possible to re-sign Molina and have Knizner be his backup. While the move to sign Tyler Heineman to a Minor League deal in November doesn’t change the Cardinals’ intent to re-sign Molina, Heineman could compete for the backup catcher role if Knizner is pegged as the starter in 2021.
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