The hot stove is fully ablaze. The World Series runner up Philadelphia Phillies signed Trea Turner to an 11-yeaar deal worth $300 million and the Mets kept up with their division rivals by giving Justin Verlander a 2 year deal worth a whopping $86 million.
It doesn’t stop there, though. St. Louis Cardinals rumors are flying and I want to catch you up on all of them as we head into a day where something feels likely to happen. And that something seems like it could be a trade for Sean Murphy.
Let’s put together the trail of bread crumbs, shall we?
As introduced in chat, #stlcards continue to pursue a trade for #Athletics Sean Murphy, who sources described as their target at catcher -- and they're continuing talks with free-agent catchers as alternatives. That list includes Vazquez, Contreras: https://t.co/3F0ZHTuER8— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) December 5, 2022
I don’t imagine the Cardinals are trying to jump the market on James McCann or Christian Vazquez… https://t.co/k2GNE8xI02— Blake Newberry (@bt_newberry) December 6, 2022
Mozeliak said he's had "some dialogue" with former #STLCards catcher Yadier Molina about which players might be the best targets to become the club's next catcher. Mozeliak said the team could pursue a stop-gap catcher, but would "like some length" with the next backstop. (2/2)— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) December 6, 2022
So, to sum it up
- Sean Murphy looks like the top target
- The Cardinals want their backstop before they leave San Diego
- They want a long term option
Sean Murphy would be a long term option and, as I said above, I don’t think the Cardinals are trying to jump the market for James McCann or Christian Vazquez. Murphy is controllable for another 3 seasons and then the Cardinals could look to extend him. We’ve seen them use that strategy before. This is what I expect.
After some thought, I agree with J.P. I think the Cardinals are trying hard to get Murphy, but, if they don’t, I expect that they’ll pivot to Vazquez.
Murphy tomorrow or Wednesday. Otherwise Vazquez as the fallback on the flight home.— Jason Hill (@JPHill_Cards) December 6, 2022
If a deal for Murphy materializes, I would expect the headliner to be Nolan Gorman. The A’s probably love the combination of his power and his years of control. After that, maybe a young outfielder like Alec Burleson, Moises Gomez, or Juan Yepez? I would also expect a pitching prospect to be included too. So maybe Graceffo and then instead of an outfielder it’s a lesser minor league piece.
Who knows what the package will be but I do think the Cardinals will get their guy. They are well set up for a trade and a trade for Murphy would add 5 wins in one fell swoop. That opportunity doesn’t come along very often.
It won’t be easy to acquire him, though, As expected, there is a strong market for Murphy.
The Astros have emerged as a potential suitor for Sean Murphy, per source. Houston currently has Martin Maldonado as its catcher and has been connected to free agent Willson Contreras. Murphy, a former Gold Glove winner, is under club control through 2025.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 6, 2022
These are just two suitors and I’m sure there are plenty more.
Now, back to the rumor mill.
There’s been a lot of talk around shortstops but I didn’t think the Cardinals would be in on that market. Until recently, that is.
There is a series of events where the #stlcards trade for a catcher -- Oakland's Sean Murphy is atop their list, two sources confirm -- and find themselves then exploring free agents, possibly at shortstop. That is where any interest in Dansby Swanson has its roots, per source.— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) December 6, 2022
I’m still not convinced the Cardinals will pursue a shortstop but my thought process has gone from “no way” to “probably not”. In the report above, it doesn’t sound like they have concrete interest but that it’s a possibility. It makes logical sense but I still don’t see the Cardinals doing it.
Also, Dansby Swanson wouldn’t be my choice of shortstop but I would assume that Swanson would be the cheapest of the four star shortstops on the market, especially after seeing the Trea Turner deal. If they get a shortstop, I do think it will be Swanson.
Again, I don’t think they will get a shortstop, and that because...
He reiterated, unequivocally, that Tommy Edman is their shortstop, and they’re excited about Donovan and Gorman as options at second base.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) December 6, 2022
He also said other teams have been calling with interest in Paul DeJong, and, “we’re not ready to cut bait.”
The Cardinals seem adamant about Tommy Edman being the shortstop and I don’t blame them. I still think he will be the shortstop on Opening Day. But let’s not forget who is speaking. It’s John Mozeliak, the founder of Mo Speak. He keep his cards close to his chest, so he could pivot in any direction and I wouldn’t really be surprised.
In regard to the Paul DeJong comment, see my “Mo Speak” comment above. There’s a good chance that Mozeliak is simply trying to drum up some interest in him. There’s also a good chance that they will hold onto him because it simply isn’t worth it to trade him.
A couple weeks ago I wrote on VEB that I was increasingly convinced that the Cards would keep DeJong. Why? Money.— Jason Hill (@JPHill_Cards) December 6, 2022
They can likely get $1-3M in return for his contract.
But to sign a vet backup SS defender w/ an 80-95 wRC+ profile, it would cost them $1-3M.
It’s a wash 4 them. https://t.co/zAOWcb2N5w
It all depends on the market for him, and I don’t imagine it’s burning.
Going back to the shortstops for a minute, if the Cardinals are pursuing one, they may have some competition from within their own division.
The Cubs' interest in the free-agent shortstop market has been no secret, but according to a source, there is a scenario in which Chicago could sign two of the three remaining star shortstops, likely Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 6, 2022
Again, I don’t think the Cardinals will sign a shortstop because I don’t think they will be willing to take on the combination of money and risk associated with signing a marquee free agent when there isn’t a gaping hole to fill. That’s just not usually how they operate.
I would expect their free agent money to go to a lefty reliever, maybe another righty reliever, a backup infielder if they dump DeJong, and potentially a left-handed bat. But there’s an argument to be made that the money could be spent more effectively on an impact player.
There’s a lot of moving pieces right now and I’m just hoping the Cardinals sign Sean Murphy after this article posts tomorrow, But it’s nearly midnight now and I have to work tomorrow although I don’t know how I can be expected to work with the hot stove being as hot as is it. Thus is life.
I thought about naming this article “I Comb Through Twitter So You Don’t Have to” but I decided to do something more boring because that’s who I am. To all of you who don’t have Twitter, you’re welcome.
And now, before I leave you, make sure to come back here tonight for the latest edition of the VEB podcast!
Ok, with that news, I am done for the night here.— Jason Hill (@JPHill_Cards) December 6, 2022
Tomorrow we are going to have @jmjones on the VEB podcast from the Winter Meetings. I anticipate we will have a lot to talk about. (We already do.)
Recording at 5:30 CST and we will get the podcast up here quick.
Thanks for reading, VEB. Start discussing! There’s plenty to talk about.