Cardinals Decline Contracts for Four Players, Including Catcher Andrew Knizner
St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Cardinals made some surprising moves before Friday night’s deadline, choosing not to offer contracts for the 2024 season to four players. The most unexpected decision was the non-offer to catcher Andrew Knizner.
Joining Knizner as free agents are pitchers Dakota Hudson and Jake Woodford, as well as first baseman/outfielder Juan Yepez. However, the Cardinals did extend contract offers to five other players eligible for arbitration: Tyler O’Neill, Tommy Edman, Dylan Carlson, Ryan Helsley, and JoJo Romero.
Knizner, 28, had an impressive 2023 season, hitting .241 with 10 home runs in 70 games as the Cardinals’ backup catcher. He had held this role for the past three years and was highly regarded by Cardinals pitchers for his work behind the plate. Speculation from MLB Trade Rumors had estimated Knizner’s potential earnings for the 2024 season at around $2 million.
With Knizner’s departure, rookie Ivan Herrera is set to become the backup catcher to Willson Contreras for the upcoming season. Herrera was recently named the Cardinals’ minor-league player of the year and had a strong performance in Triple-A Memphis, hitting .297 with 60 RBIs and 38 extra-base hits.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals also added catcher Pedro Pages to their 40-man roster. Pages spent the 2023 season at Double-A Springfield.
The decision not to offer contracts to Hudson and Woodford further depletes the Cardinals’ pitching roster as they seek to strengthen their pitching staff for 2024. Both pitchers split their time between the major leagues and Triple-A last season. MLB Trade Rumors had projected Hudson’s 2024 salary at $3.7 million.
Juan Yepez, who spent most of the season in Triple-A, faced challenges in the majors due to the presence of Paul Goldschmidt and a crowded outfield and designated hitter lineup. Yepez was a pre-arbitration player.
With these moves, the Cardinals now have 36 players on their roster as they continue to shape their team for the upcoming season.