Putting together a trade package for the St. Louis Cardinals to land Yadier Molina’s replacement.
Ever since Yadier Molina, one of the best catchers the game has ever seen, announced his retirement at the end of the 2022 season, the hot stove got red-hot as everyone began speculating who would be his replacement.
You don’t need me to tell you that the combination of Andrew Knizner and Iván Herrera will not be enough to get it done behind the plate for the Cardinals.
Fortunately, the Oakland Athletics have Sean Murphy, one of the hottest commodities on the trade market, available for the right price. There is most definitely a deal to be made between the Cards and A’s.
Murphy, 28, is the last of Oakland’s premier trade chips and is sure to land a serious haul in any potential deals. He is under team control through the 2025 season and is one of the best defensive backstops in the game.
The presence of Shea Langeliers, Oakland’s catcher of the future, will further push Murphy off of the roster, not to mention Tyler Soderstrom (OAK No. 1 prospect) and Daniel Susac (OAK No. 4 prospect) coming up through the minor league system.
Cardinals: A trade package to land Yadier Molina’s replacement
The Cardinals are sitting on a ton of talent at both the major and minor league levels. The club is a lock to be in contention every year and needs a new backstop to replace Molina. Pieces of the aforementioned talent could (and should) be used to land Murphy from Oakland.
Here is a deal I put together that would help each club out in both the short term and long term.
INF Nolan Gorman
RHP Jake Woodford
LHP Matthew Liberatore
C Sean Murphy
This is a deal that would see significant MLB-ready talent being exchanged from both clubs.
Starting with the package Oakland is getting, it all starts with prized infielder Nolan Gorman. The 22-year-old debuted this past season, hitting 14 home runs and posting an OPS+ of 106 in 89 games. Defensively, he has the talent to play any of first, second, third or the outfield corners.
Woodford, 26, has made appearances as both a starter and reliever in each of the past three seasons and has begun to show quite a bit of promise. He would be able to function as an oft-used swingman for Oakland in what is currently a weak pitching staff.
Liberatore, the Cardinals No. 4 prospect, made the first nine appearances of his big league career last season but struggled to find any sort of consistency. He is a high strikeout, low walk pitcher who has frequently flashed signs of greatness. He would likely have a home in the A’s starting rotation heading into next season.
Murphy was worth 3.5 bWAR last season, hitting a career high 18 home runs with a career high 66 RBI to go along with it. He posted a 120 OPS+ and remained one of the best defenders at catcher in the league.
As this trade stands, Baseball Trade Values has it at 51.80 points for the A’s and 51.30 for the Cardinals, a nearly perfect match for the two clubs. This proposal would represent a rare multi-player deal involving only MLB-ready talent heading both ways.