3 free agent contracts St. Louis Cardinals should’ve matched this offseason

Former New York Yankees designated hitter Matt Carpenter. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Every offseason, MLB teams bypass free agents who could have helped their team. Could the St. Louis Cardinals regret passing on matching these three free agent contracts?

The St. Louis Cardinals made one big splash this offseason, inking catcher Willson Contreras to a five-year, $87.5 million contract. The signing filled a need for the Cardinals, but could more have been done to improve the roster?

Take a look at the projected depth chart for the Cardinals heading into the 2023 season (via FanGraphs) and you will see some areas (including the outfield) where St. Louis is planning on prospects such as Jordan Walker to make an impact as the season goes along. However, could the Cardinals have brought in some veteran help this offseason as well in those areas?

In this article, we’ll look at three contracts that would not have broken the bank for the Cardinals, but still allowed the team to bring in a veteran who potentially could have paid dividends as St. Louis looks to avoid another early postseason exit in 2023.

Contract that should have been matched by the St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Carpenter

The Cardinals were all about the farewell tour last season, with Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina both signing deals to finish their careers in St. Louis while being celebrated by Cardinals fans. Adam Wainwright will be a part of the same plans this season.

There’s a sense of nostalgia about players who have contributed to the franchise riding off into the sunset under the Gateway Arch. That’s why it was a little surprising when the Cardinals didn’t beat out the San Diego Padres for the services of Matt Carpenter, who signed a two-year deal worth $12 million this offseason.

Carpenter brought his career back to life with the New York Yankees last season and received an incredible welcome-back ovation from Cardinals fans when New York paid a visit to Busch Stadium in early August. Carpenter slashed .305/.412/.727 in 154 plate appearances with the Yankees last season, so perhaps the 37-year-old got hot at the right time in the Bronx and would’ve cooled off with more at-bats. However, bringing Carpenter back to St. Louis with a relatively inexpensive contract (perhaps the last MLB one he will sign) would have been a great way to not only give the fans another trip down Memory Lane, but also perhaps give St. Louis some veteran infield depth and options at designated hitter.

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