Over the last month, there have been a handful of players being constantly tied to the Cardinals; some are realistic trade targets, other not so much. This will be the first of a series of trade targets that the Cardinals have been reportedly interested in.
With Yadier Molina down for some time after thumb surgery, catcher is one of the easiest upgrades for the team; other positions have players tied to them that could break out at any time (Allen Craig in right, Kolten Wong at second, etc).
Kurt Suzuki is the most prominent available catcher. The back stop is having the finest year of his career, including an All Star appearance, and is finishing up an affordable 1 year deal. The Twins approached Suzuki about an extension, but reports are showing they are pretty far apart right now; it’s looking more like he could be dealt.
The key to Suzuki is his contract; he’s a free agent after the season. The Cardinals need a short-term investment at catcher since Molina will be back before the end of the season. Most of the other trade options are younger players under team control for a few years.
Since Suzuki doesn’t cost much, he’ll probably only cost a mid-level prospect, someone like Mike O’Neill; in 2 previous trades, teams acquired David Freitas and Dakota Bacus, neither of whom were high level prospects; granted, he wasn’t playing at the level he is right now. The Nationals and Athletics, who traded the player between them, were viewing him as a backup.
There could be competition for the catcher. The Orioles lost their starting catcher Matt Wieters to Tommy John surgery and in the market for a new starter. Both the Dodgers and Blue Jays are looking for upgrades.
A segment of fans were looking for the team to sign John Buck to work behind the plate with Tony Cruz; Buck was released from the Mariners after being designated for assignment. It appeared that this wouldn’t be happening after the team claimed George Kottaras off waivers and now it won’t happen for sure, as Buck has signed a minor league deal with the Angels.
Any other option available, including Buck and the recently released A.J. Pierzynski, are not considered upgrades. Tony Cruz and Kottaras have issues as starters, but together they make a pretty good tandem behind the plate. Cruz has more of the defense abilities of the two, while Kottaras has the better bat. Neither will set the world on fire, but as long as the pitching stays on track, and someone steps up on the offense, the position won’t be a real concern.