St. Louis Cardinals – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-01-18T15:16:33Z WordPress Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Jordan Hicks "Ready To Go"]]> 2021-01-17T20:18:03Z 2021-01-17T20:18:03Z
  • Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks is “ready to go” for next season, bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd tells reporters (including Anne Rogers of That’s welcome news after a setback in Hicks’ recovery from Tommy John surgery contributed to his choice to opt out of the 2020 season. The 24-year-old suffers from Type 1 diabetes, which no doubt also played a role in that decision. In 106.2 career innings between 2018-19, the fireballer has pitched to a 3.47 ERA behind an elite 62.3% groundball rate.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: 1/15/21]]> 2021-01-16T03:42:52Z 2021-01-15T16:51:22Z The deadline to exchange arbitration figures is today at 1pm ET. As of this morning, there were 125 arbitration-eligible players who’d yet to agree to terms on their contract for the upcoming 2021 season. Arbitration is muddier than ever before thanks to the shortened 2020 schedule, which most believe will lead to record number of arb hearings this winter. Be that as it may, it’s still reasonable to expect dozens of contractual agreements to filter in over the next couple of hours.

    We’ll highlight some of the more high-profile cases in separate posts with more in-depth breakdowns, but the majority of today’s dealings will be smaller-scale increases that don’t radically alter a team’s payroll or a player’s trade candidacy. As such, we’ll just run through most of today’s agreements in this post.

    I’ve embedded MLBTR’s 2021 Arbitration Tracker in the post (those in the mobile app or viewing on mobile web will want to turn their phones sideways). Our tracker can be sorted by team, by service time and/or by Super Two status, allowing users to check the status on whichever groups of players they like. You can also check out Matt Swartz’s projected arbitration salaries for this year’s class, and we’ll do a quick sentence on each player’s agreement at the bottom of this post as well, with the most recent agreements sitting atop the list.

    Today’s Agreements (chronologically, newest to oldest)

    Read more

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Molina Mentions Possibility Of Retirement As Free Agency Lingers]]> 2021-01-14T15:58:31Z 2021-01-14T15:57:12Z Cardinals icon Yadier Molina remains in a staredown of sorts with the only team he’s ever known, seeking a two-year deal while the Cards idle amid budgetary uncertainty. Molina noted earlier in the winter that he’s heard from as many as five other clubs, but his preference has clearly been to return to the Cardinals.

    Now, in an interview with La Vida Baseball’s Polo Ascencio (hat tip: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Molina suggests that if he doesn’t receive the right offer, he feels he could retire with his head held high after a terrific 17-year career. Molina made clear that he’s still working out, getting ready as if he’ll play in 2021.

    It’s hard to imagine Molina walking away when he’s previously been so adamant about continuing his career, but the Cardinals haven’t been aggressive in their efforts to retain Molina or longtime teammates Adam Wainwright and Kolten Wong — both free agents themselves (Wong after having his 2021 club option declined).

    The rest of the market for Molina’s services, meanwhile, may have changed a bit since receiving that early interest. The Mets signed James McCann, taking them out of the market for another catcher. Molina previously mentioned interest from the Padres, but they picked up Victor Caratini from the Cubs. The Yankees are still in a staring contest of their own with DJ LeMahieu and don’t appear willing to spend elsewhere until there’s resolution on that front. The Angels, another club mentioned by Molina himself, could still be a fit but are surely looking at the pitching market and perhaps at J.T. Realmuto, who also remains unsigned. The Phillies would make another on-paper fit, but they, too, are intently waiting to see where Realmuto’s market goes. Goold notes that the Nationals have also been in touch with Molina, but they’ve been focused on adding more thump to their lineup to this point.

    At the very least, it seems likely that once Realmuto is off the board, Molina will receive strong one-year interest as the clear best alternative on the market. Whether that pushes the Cardinals or another club toward the two-year term he prefers can’t be known at this time, nor can the level of potential gamesmanship in his comments about retirement be known. However, with about $155MM in career earnings under his belt already, Molina won’t feel financially obligated to simply take the best offer out there if he doesn’t feel he’s being valued appropriately on the market.

    There’s no denying that Molina’s bat has tailed off over the past two seasons. He remains extremely difficult to strike out (13 percent) but has posted a combined .268/.310/.388 batting line since Opening Day 2019 — a pronounced decrease from the .282/.330/.434 output he notched from 2016-18. Molina’s bat is still roughly in line with that of the league-average catcher (by measure of wRC+), however, and he’s still revered for his ability to call a game, frame and block pitches, and control baserunners.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Not Aggressive On Pitching Market]]> 2021-01-13T02:54:21Z 2021-01-13T02:19:39Z
  • In his latest Q&A with readers, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals aren’t actively pursuing rotation upgrades outside of a potential reunion with Adam Wainwright. The Cards aren’t being particularly aggressive in their efforts to re-sign either Wainwright or fellow franchise icon Yadier Molina, per Goold, instead continuing to wait out a glacial free-agent market. Should Wainwright ultimately sign elsewhere, the Cards might pivot and look for a low-cost deal with a comparable veteran, but they’ve “continued to position themselves as a team that will reduce payroll,” Goold writes.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On DJ LeMahieu’s Market]]> 2021-01-11T02:45:38Z 2021-01-11T02:45:38Z The stalemate between the Yankees and DJ LeMahieu isn’t showing any signs of ending, and it may have opened the door for other teams to re-enter the hunt.  According to Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, LeMahieu has “asked his representatives to re-engage with teams that have previously shown the most interest…and to reconnect with teams that reached out early in the free agent period.”

    This group includes at least six teams — the Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Mets, and Red Sox.  The Astros and (maybe?) the Nationals were also linked to LeMahieu earlier this winter, so it’s fair to assume some new calls may have been placed to those teams.  Of the six clubs cited, it was already known that the Mets, Dodgers, and Jays were in on LeMahieu, with Toronto mentioned as the batting champion’s most fervent suitor apart from the Yankees.

    This is the first time, however, that the Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals have been linked to LeMahieu, opening up an intriguing new set of possibilities.  All three teams were among those who had the early interest in LeMahieu, however, so it could be that those were simply due diligence check-ins, or plans may have changed as the winter market has developed.  That said, due to some feeling earlier in the offseason that a LeMahieu/Yankees reunion was inevitable, more teams may now make a more serious push if they have a sense that LeMahieu may actually sign elsewhere.

    Not much seems to have changed with LeMahieu’s asking price, as Brown reports that LeMahieu is looking for “at least” five years and $110MM.  Previous reports indicated a similar price from LeMahieu’s camp, with the Yankees’ top offer apparently falling short by more than $25MM.  The Cardinals may not be willing to spend much this offseason.  The Braves could be in somewhat of the same situation after already investing in Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly, though Atlanta has a lot of salary coming off the books following the 2021 season.  Boston has the spending capacity but the team wasn’t thought to be shopping at the top of the free agent market this winter, in part because signing a qualifying offer-rejecting free agent like LeMahieu would cost a draft pick.

    The acquisition of Francisco Lindor might also take the Mets out of the LeMahieu hunt, and longtime Dodger Justin Turner has been cited as Los Angeles’ top choice to handle third base (even if Turner’s ask for a four-year contract is very likely to go unfulfilled).  It isn’t known what Toronto’s top offer to LeMahieu is or was, but since the Jays are reportedly willing to give a similar contract to George Springer, they could pivot by putting that offer on the table for LeMahieu.

    Several virtual meetings are planned between LeMahieu and various teams over the coming week, Brown writes, so we could have more clarity on the All-Star’s situation soon.  At this juncture, it’s hard to say where LeMahieu might end up, or if perhaps other mystery teams could emerge.  Of course, LeMahieu could also wind up with the Yankees after all, if New York feels it needs to increase its offer in response to any additional pressure from one or more clubs.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Matt Carpenter Discusses 2021 Season]]> 2021-01-09T16:54:13Z 2021-01-09T16:53:13Z After struggling in both 2019 and 2020, Matt Carpenter has reshaped his offseason training routine in advance of what he considers to be a make-or-break year or perhaps even his final year in the big leagues, Carpenter tells Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Carpenter’s contract with the Cardinals is up after the 2021 season, unless he records at least 550 plate appearances to trigger an $18.5MM vesting option for 2022.  “As far as guarantees, this is the last guaranteed trip to spring training, period, for me.  Maybe for any baseball team, let alone St. Louis,” Carpenter said.  “I think about that, and that’s why I say it’s such an important season for me personally.  And that’s not even to say whether I want to play past this season.  I just want to finish strong.”

    Carpenter is entering his age-35 season, and he is likely correct in guessing that another tough year will greatly lessen his chances at anything beyond a low-cost MLB contract or even a minor league deal next winter.  Carpenter finished ninth in NL MVP voting as recently as 2018, but has since hit .216/.332/.372 over 661 plate appearances in 2019-20.  Between the Cardinals’ COVID-19 outbreak and the compressed schedule of make-up games once they returned to play, Carpenter didn’t feel the 2020 season was “a fair representation, hitting or pitching, good or bad” for the entire club.  Still, Carpenter knows he needs to get on track, saying “the last two seasons, in my eyes, our offense has been about a bat short….I have basically been the one bat missing.  I put a lot of the responsibility for the offensive woes the past two seasons on myself.

    • David Eckstein is leaving the Pirates after two years as a special assistant to the baseball operations department, according to Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports (Twitter link).  Eckstein made the move in order to spend more time with his family.  The former 10-league MLB veteran is best remembered for his role in helping both the 2002 Angels and 2006 Cardinals win the World Series, even capturing Series MVP honors with St. Louis.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals Had Past Trade Interest In David Peralta]]> 2021-01-05T18:29:58Z 2021-01-05T18:14:22Z
  • “The Cardinals have talked about acquiring” David Peralta in the past, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, and Goold feels it would be logical for the Cards to again consider acquiring the Diamondbacks outfielder.  Peralta began his pro career with St. Louis back in 2004 before being released in 2009, and he has since gone on to become a solid contributor over seven MLB seasons with the D’Backs.  Peralta’s name has been periodically mentioned in trade rumors as the Diamondbacks’ fortunes have gone up and down over the years, but Arizona locked Peralta up on a contract extension last spring.  That same deal now could make Peralta an affordable (he is owed $7.5MM in both 2021 and 2022) trade target for a team like the Cardinals, who are both in need of outfield help and are seemingly trying to limit spending.  While the D’Backs have dealt several of their higher-paid players in recent years, however, there hasn’t been any indication that Arizona is considering a similar move involving Peralta or any of its pricier veterans this winter.  If anything, indications are that the D’Backs are leaning towards bringing much of their roster back, with the sense that 2020 was an aberration of a season.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Haruki Nishikawa Not Expected To Sign With MLB Team This Offseason]]> 2021-01-02T21:45:47Z 2021-01-02T21:45:12Z 3:45 pm: Nishikawa will not reach an agreement with an MLB club before this afternoon’s 4:00 pm CST deadline, per a report from Yahoo! Japan (link in Japanese). He’ll instead return to the Fighters for a tenth season in 2021.

    10:52 am: In early December, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters made center fielder Haruki Nishikawa available to major league teams via the posting system. That opened a 30-day window for MLB clubs to work out an agreement with Nishikawa; otherwise, the 28-year-old would return to the Fighters for at least another season.

    Today marks the final day of Nishikawa’s posting window, as was first noted last month by Jon Morosi of (Twitter link). While no one knows if the left-handed hitter will put pen to paper in the coming hours, it seems he has attracted the attention of a few MLB teams. Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported earlier this week (Japanese-language link) that the Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Diamondbacks were among those with interest in the outfielder. It isn’t clear if any of those four (or any other MLB club) has actually put forth a formal offer, however.

    Over parts of nine seasons at Japan’s highest level, Nishikawa has hit .286/.382/.394. He’s coming off a very strong 2020 seasons with the Fighters, wherein he slashed .306/.430/.396 with more walks than strikeouts across 523 plate appearances. Nishikawa has never been much of a power threat, but he’s consistently hit for high batting averages and drawn plenty of walks.

    If Nishikawa were to come to an agreement with an MLB team, the signing team would owe a release fee to the Fighters. That fee, which comes on top of the contract paid to the player himself, is equal to 20 percent of the contract’s first $25MM, plus 17.5 percent of the next $25MM and 15 percent of any dollars thereafter. Nishikawa’s track record in NPB is lesser than that of countryman Shogo Akiyama, who inked a three-year, $21MM deal with the Reds last winter. It’d be a surprise to see Nishikawa top that mark, so in all likelihood his posting fee will fall squarely into that first tier, 20-percent bracket. Nishikawa’s former Fighters teammate, right-hander Kohei Arihara, signed with the Rangers last week.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Cardinals, Kolten Wong]]> 2021-01-01T01:48:22Z 2021-01-01T01:48:22Z The Cardinals began their offseason by declining second baseman Kolten Wong’s option, making him a free agent, but he remains unsigned two-plus months later. Although Wong called the Cardinals’ choice to let him go a “punch to the gut,” both sides remain interested in a reunion, per reports from Jon Heyman of MLB Network and Jim Hayes of Fox Sports Midwest.

    The Cardinals caught heat for cutting ties with Wong in the first place, but it was not an indefensible decision. The team saved $11.5MM by letting go of Wong, who would have earned $12.5MM in 2021 in lieu of a $1MM buyout had the Cardinals retained him. Wong’s option would have been pricey for St. Louis or any other team.

    To Wong’s credit, the 30-year-old has been a valuable part of the team since he debuted in 2013. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Wong has mixed outstanding defense (55 DRS, 32.6 UZR) with respectable offensive production throughout his career. Most recently, he batted .265/.350/.326 with one home run and five stolen bases over 208 plate appearances in 2020.

    With Wong at least temporarily out of the picture, Tommy Edman is the in-house favorite to start at second for the Cardinals in 2021. If they’re not content with Edman, and if Wong goes someplace else, they could pivot to free agents such as Tommy La Stella or Cesar Hernandez.

    Considering his solid all-around game, Wong could land with several teams this offseason for a lesser price (at least on an annual basis) than the Cardinals turned down. MLBTR predicted at the outset of the winter that Wong would sign for $16MM over two years. Since then, no fewer than a half-dozen teams have shown interest in Wong.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Checking In On 2020’s Lowest-Scoring Offenses]]> 2020-12-31T21:55:30Z 2020-12-31T21:55:30Z Three of the 2020 campaign’s five lowest-scoring offenses belonged to National League playoff teams, but that’s not an ideal outcome if you truly want to make noise in October. Indeed, all three of those clubs (St. Louis, Cincinnati and Milwaukee) failed to advance beyond the playoffs’ initial round during the fall. So what have they and the league’s other two bottom-feeding offenses done to improve themselves this offseason? Not much, as you’ll see below…

    Pirates (219 runs scored, 73 wRC+):

    • The Pirates look even worse on paper than they did at the end of the season, having traded first baseman Josh Bell to the Nationals last week. While Bell had a horrid season in 2020, he was a star-caliber performer during the previous year, in which he slashed .277/.367/.569 with 37 home runs. The Bell-less Pirates haven’t done anything of significance to bolster their offense this winter, but the good news is that they should get a full 2021 (however many games that consists of) from third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who ran roughshod over the league during a scintillating 95-PA debut in 2020. There’s also nowhere to go but up for holdovers such as Gregory Polanco, Bryan Reynolds and Adam Frazier, who each posted awful numbers last season.

    Rangers (224 runs, 67 wRC+):

    • The Rangers have a couple newcomers in outfielder David Dahl and first baseman Nate Lowe, who they hope will improve their attack in 2021. Otherwise, they’ll be counting on bounce-back efforts from the likes of Joey Gallo, Willie Calhoun, Nick Solak, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. It’s hard to imagine things will get any worse next year for that quintet, though Andrus and Odor have been trending in the wrong direction for years. The Rangers are down enough on Andrus these days that they’re planning on using him as a backup shortstop/utilityman behind Isiah Kiner-Falefa next season.

    Cardinals (240 runs, 93 wRC+):

    • The Cardinals’ place in these rankings is deceiving because a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak cost them two full games. Their 93 wRC+ was closer to average than horrendous, but that isn’t to say they don’t have work to do offensively. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder Harrison Bader, two of their best hitters in 2020, are returning. But Brad Miller, who was second on the team in wRC+ (121), is a free agent. Going by wRC+, those three were the only above-average offensive players on last season’s roster. The Cardinals haven’t done anything thus far to better their offense, even though they’re facing questions almost everywhere. Catcher Yadier Molina is a free agent, as is second baseman Kolten Wong, while most of their outfielders underwhelmed at the plate in 2020.

    Reds (243 runs, 91 wRC+):

    • The Reds made a real effort to upgrade their offense last winter in signing Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama. Moustakas wound up having a typical season at the plate, but Castellanos and Akiyama fell short of expectations. Barring trades, no one from that group is going anywhere in 2021. Likewise, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel and Tucker Barnhart will hang around in key roles. Aside from Winker, who was fantastic in 2020, the Reds will need more from everyone listed in the previous sentence. They also need to upgrade at shortstop, where the largely untested Jose Garcia is their current starter, but it’s unclear whether the team will do so to a satisfactory extent during what has been a cost-cutting winter so far.

    Brewers (247 runs, 89 wRC+):

    • We’ll cap things off with another NL Central team, Milwaukee, which has joined its division rivals this winter in doing virtually nothing to better its chances of success in 2021. The Brewers opted against retaining infielder Jedd Gyorko, among their most productive hitters last season, instead paying him a $1MM buyout in lieu of exercising his $4.5MM option. They also declined team icon Ryan Braun’s option, but that was an easy decision because the six-time All-Star would have otherwise earned a $15MM salary in 2021. Braun, to his credit, was roughly a league-average hitter last season, which is more than you can say for most Brewers regulars. Whether or not the Brewers bring in outside help, better years from former NL MVP Christian Yelich, Keston Hiura, Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez would go a long way in helping the team tack more runs on the board in 2021.
    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Latest On Cardinals, Yadier Molina]]> 2020-12-24T17:13:52Z 2020-12-24T17:13:52Z The Cardinals and franchise icon Yadier Molina have had a protracted back-and-forth in contract talks this winter. Molina’s agent Melvin Roman opened the offseason noting they were looking for a two-year deal. St. Louis’ front office has stayed in contact with the 38-year-old’s camp but has apparently not yet put forth an offer at what Molina deems an appropriate price point.

    Despite being at something of an impasse, there appears to be continued mutual interest. Cardinals ownership still wants to bring back Molina and right-hander Adam Wainwright, whom they consider “legacy players” in the franchise’s history, notes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. For his part, St. Louis remains “where (Molina) wants to be,” a source tells Goold (Twitter link).

    The veteran catcher told Mas Que Pelota last month that, in addition to his talks with the Cardinals, he has heard from the Yankees, Mets, Padres and Angels. (The Mets have since signed James McCann, no doubt taking them out of the running). That gives the nine-time All-Star alternatives if the Cards’ front office holds firm on their current valuation. Molina returning to St. Louis still seems a desirable fit for both sides, but they’ll need to bridge their apparent gap on terms to make that happen.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Cardinals Exploring "Cash-Neutral" Trades]]> 2020-12-24T15:00:37Z 2020-12-24T14:54:30Z
  • The Cardinals have been exploring “cash-neutral” trades this winter, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as part of a reader mailbag. More specifically, a framework in which St. Louis moves MLB pitching for big league ready offensive help makes some sense, Goold feels. Cardinals hitters ranked just nineteenth leaguewide in park-adjusted hitting last season, with particularly dismal work from the outfielders. The St. Louis organization has generally been expected to have a quiet offseason after chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. claimed the baseball industry “isn’t very profitable” in June. Nevertheless, the front office exploring cash-neutral deals perhaps hints there’s no organizational mandate to further slash costs. St. Louis currently projects for a 2021 payroll around $131MM, per Roster Resource, after opening the 2020 season in the $167MM range (before prorating).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Sign Jose Rondon To Minor League Deal]]> 2020-12-18T17:15:18Z 2020-12-18T17:12:59Z The Cardinals announced that they’ve signed infielder Jose Rondon to a minor league contract Friday. He’s been invited to Major League Spring Training.

    Rondon, 27 in March, appeared in 106 games between the Padres, White Sox and Orioles from 2016-19, mostly with the White Sox. He’s a career .201/.260/.336 hitter with nine homers in 290 plate appearances. Rondon has appeared at all four infield positions and at left field in the Major Leagues, albeit just 16 combined innings at left field and in first base. Shortstop has been his primary position throughout his pro career, though Rondon hasn’t graded out well in an admittedly tiny sample of 217 MLB frames at the position. His marks at second base and third base are better.

    Rondon gives the Cardinals some infield depth after the club decided to decline second baseman Kolten Wong’s $12.5MM club option back in November. Even if he were to make the roster, Rondon would presumably serve as a bench piece, with Tommy Edman slotting in as the primary second baseman and Matt Carpenter getting a chance to rebound at the hot corner. The Cards currently have Edmundo Sosa and Elehuris Montero as additional infield options on the 40-man roster, and St. Louis recently added Max Moroff on a minor league deal with a non-roster invite — the same type of deal received by Rondon.

    In parts of four Triple-A seasons, Rondon is a .258/.301/.448 hitter.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/15/20]]> 2020-12-15T18:03:19Z 2020-12-15T18:03:19Z The latest minor league moves from around the sport…

    • The Cardinals have signed infielder Max Moroff to a minors contract that contains an invitation to the Cards’ big league Spring Training camp, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports (Twitter link).  A veteran of 104 Major League games with the Pirates and Indians from 2016-19, Moroff has a .183/.277/.319 slash line over 244 career plate appearances, though his ability to play second base, third base, and shortstop makes him a useful bench asset.  Moroff signed a minor league deal with the Mets last winter.
    • The Phillies signed utilityman Christian Bethancourt to a minor league deal, The Athletic’s Matt Gelb reports (via Twitter).  The contract has an invite to the Phillies’ Major League spring camp.  Bethancourt inked a minors deal with Philadelphia last offseason but didn’t see any action in any big league games or at the Phils’ alternate training site.  Bethancourt hit .222/.252/.316 over 489 PA with the Braves and Padres from 2013-17, and he has since played in the Brewers’ minor league system and in South Korea with the KBO League’s NC Dinos.  Though Bethancourt is known for his ability to play multiple positions around the diamond, he’ll likely be used primarily as a catcher by the Phillies, Gelb notes, since the team is lacking in catching depth.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Cardinals’ Talks With Molina, Wainwright]]> 2020-12-10T03:47:45Z 2020-12-10T03:47:45Z It feels odd even to contemplate different uniforms for longtime Cardinals Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, but it’s far from certain either or both will remain in St. Louis. Mark Saxon of The Athletic provides an update on the state of ongoing talks between the club and these grizzled veterans.

    While both players are pushing forty, each has clear appeal on the market. Molina is considered a master of his craft behind the dish and remains a palatable hitter, even if he’s unlikely to turn in any more average-or-better seasons with the bat. And Wainwright has racked up 237 1/3 innings of 3.91 ERA pitching dating back to the start of the 2019 season. Both players rank among MLBTR’s top 50 free agents.

    It’s no surprise that the Cards maintain strong interest in retaining both players, neither of whom has donned the threads of another MLB franchise. But it’s equally predictable to learn that, per Saxon, the club is letting the market develop rather than rushing to re-ink Molina and Wainwright.

    The Cardinals’ payroll predicament left it unlikely to jump to meet the demands of Molina, who’s said to be hoping for a multi-year deal while “seeking at least a one-year, $10 million deal with a 2022 option.” That’d eat up a big chunk of the available spending for the club, though president of baseball operations John Mozeliak did make clear that he’d pursue an alternative backstop if Yadi heads elsewhere.

    In the case of Molina, Saxon writes that early talks didn’t gain much traction. Molina’s camp viewed an initial offer from the Cards as an attempt to lowball the veteran.

    Wainwright doesn’t seem to have held many substantial discussions at all, with the Cardinals or other organizations. He says that he has yet to receive any firm numbers from suitors. Wainwright’s contract situation is at least more straightforward than that of Molina, as he could slot into just about any rotation and is said to be seeking only a single-season contract.