Cardinals moving Willson Contreras out of catching spot

After just over a month the Cardinals are moving on from Willson Contreras as their catcher.

The Cardinals gave Contreras a five-year contract worth $87 million in the offseason to join them from their NL Central rivals the Cubs. Contreras was seen as someone who would perfectly take over the position which had been held by Yadier Molina for the last 19 years.

And just like that it is over.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told reporters that Contreras would be used almost exclusively at designated hitter in the coming weeks. Contreras could also see some time in the outfield. That leaves Andrew Knizner to get the bulk of the starts behind home plate with Tres Barrera giving him an occasional day off.

“It’s tough, but I’m an employee,” Contreras told reporters. “I know my primary position is catching, but if they want me to DH more, I can do nothing about it except by being the best hitter I can be.”

Contreras has had a few injury scares thus far this season and is dealing with a minor ankle issue but the inconvenient truth for the Cardinals is that they paid Contreras to be behind home plate. If Contreras is not behind home plate he does not fit their roster.

The Cardinals already had a surplus of outfielders before this decision. Moving Contreras out of the catching spot gives more at-bats to Knizner at the expense of the offense as a whole.

“One thing I want to make super clear is that we are not losing ball games because of Willson Contreras,” Marmol said. “This is a guy that’s been in an amazing amount of work to be able to become more familiar with one, our pitchers, and also how we do things. He will DH a decent amount going forward, and then we have a strategy of what that looks like beyond that.”

With a loss on Saturday the Cardinals fell to 10-24 on the season. Contreras was 1-for-5 with two strikeouts as the teams’ DH.
Contreras “is an .800 OPS dude who is doing a really nice job of taking productive at-bats for us, and that’s going to continue,” manager Oliver Marmol said. “But we need to address the comfortability and confidence of our pitchers and we believe that familiarity behind the plate may help with that. … It allows for some familiarity behind the plate with our guys — which I think will help especially in the state that we’re in. At the end of the day, we need to start winning ballgames.”
John Bman
John Bman
Founder and Owner of Tireball Sports.

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