At the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, California, Katie Woo of The Athletic spoke to Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, as well as Vice President and GM Mike Girsch. The executives offered insight into the Cardinals’ offseason priorities.
Both execs cited pitching as the team’s primary need. Mozeliak spoke of the success of midseason pickups Wade LeBlanc, T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia, J.A. Happ, and Jon Lester, and the need to replicate that depth addition. And Girsch noted the many 2021 Cardinal pitchers who are currently free agents, a list that includes LeBlanc, Garcia, Happ, Lester, Kwang Hyun Kim, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Martinez. The Cardinals currently have Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, and Dakota Hudson as rotation locks for 2022.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “The Cardinals are looking for pitchers who they think can thrive with a superior defense behind them — which is most pitchers, but specifically sinkerballers.” Goold mentions Marcus Stroman as a potential target on the higher end, and Nick Martinez on the lower end. Martinez, a member of the Rangers’ rotation from 2014-17, pitched his fourth season in Japan this year and posted a 1.62 ERA in 149 2/3 innings. Other groundballers on the free agent market include Alex Wood, Clayton Kershaw, Jon Gray, and Yusei Kikuchi. The trade market could include Luis Castillo, Dallas Keuchel, and Sonny Gray.
Otherwise, Cardinals fans dreaming of a Trevor Story–Nolan Arenado reunion may want to temper expectations. According to Goold, Mozeliak said the shortstop market has “not been a focus for us” to this point. Both Mozeliak and Girsch made a point to defend Paul DeJong after a rough season, and to praise Edmundo Sosa’s work. The execs made it clear they’re comfortable with internal options, especially with second/third baseman Nolan Gorman on the way.