The St. Louis Cardinals made the playoffs yet again in 2022, but fell in the NL Wild Card round to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cardinals have a win-now core led by Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, but St. Louis will look a bit differently this upcoming season. Here’s a look at what the Cardinals have been up to this winter.
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- C Willson Contreras
- OF Oscar Mercado (MiLB Deal)
- RHP Wilking Rodriguez (Rule 5)
Arguably the most notable question mark on the Cardinals roster heading into the winter was behind the plate. St. Louis addressed that hole in three-time All-Star Willson Contreras. Contreras has been one the best offensive catchers in the league since his debut, and should fit in nicely in a lineup that features Tommy Edman, Nolan Arenado, and reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt.
Other notable additions include Wilking Rodriguez and Oscar Mercado. St. Louis selected RHP Wilking Rodriguez from the Yankees organization, a pitcher the Cardinals’ brass liked thanks to his cutter and hard fastball that sits in the upper-90s. Rodriguez struck out 73 batters over 44.2 innings in the Mexican League last season. Mercado, meanwhile, returns to the organization that drafted him in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft. After a solid rookie season with Cleveland in 2019, Mercado hit just .197 in the three seasons since that campaign.
- OF Corey Dickerson
- C Yadier Molina
- 1B Albert Pujols
- LHP Jose Quintana
- RHP Alex Reyes
It truly is an end of an era in St. Louis, as franchise icons Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols retired after the 2022 campaign. Molina struggled in his final season, but Pujols electrified Cardinals fans one last time. The three-time NL MVP hit 24 home runs for the Cardinals, 18 of which game in the second half. The 2022 NL Comeback Player of the Year also recorded an .895 OPS last season, his highest figure in that category since 2011.
Two other notable losses include Alex Reyes and Jose Quintana. The Cards opted not to bring back Reyes, a former top prospect and 2021 All-Star that struggled with control during his time in St. Louis. Quintana, meanwhile, gave the Cardinals rotation plenty of stability during the second half. Acquired from the Pirates in the summer, the ex-Cardinals’ 2.01 ERA from August 2 to the end of the season was tenth-best in all of baseball (min. 40 IP).
The Cardinals entered the winter with a strong club, and are set to enter 2023 as the favorite in the NL Central. A deep lineup should be better with the addition of Willson Contreras. St. Louis’ rotation also appears to be in a good place thanks to the likes of Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, and Jordan Montgomery, but could be better provided Jack Flaherty can stay healthy. The 27-year-old has battled with a myriad of injuries over the last two seasons.