St. Louis Cardinals: Patience Needed With Yadier Molina

Feb 18, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (right) greets relief pitcher Seung Hwan Oh (left) at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (right) greets relief pitcher Seung Hwan Oh (left) at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Yesterday’s first workout of Spring Training brought comments from the St. Louis Cardinals regarding their all-star catcher and his attempt to return to action.

Ah patience, one of the hardest things in life. For example, I am having a hard time patiently waiting for the St. Louis Cardinals’ season to start already. However, the St. Louis Cardinals are committed to making me wait over the course of this long Spring Training. So, I guess I can do that. The Cardinals on the other hand need patience to wait for Yadier Molina‘s left thumb to completely heal.

In comments made to the media yesterday, the Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak was quoted by Rick Hummel as saying, “The biggest thing is you’ve got to eliminate any chances of compromise. If hitting is going to do that or if catching is going to do that, then we have to be patient”. So, as you can see the team knows that it cannot rush things here, and that means that we as fans have to wait to see the great Yadier Molina behind the plate and in the lineup.

We talked about this a little bit the other day when we looked at the expectations and projections for this season, and it will continue to be the theme throughout Spring Training. In comments made by his older brother Bengie Molina on the Bernie Miklasz Show, it is clear that the Cardinals are going to have to keep Yadier under watchful eye, as he will be itching to get out on that field. That means no private bullpens between him and Carlos Martinez or Alex Reyes.

The worst case scenario with them waiting is that the Cardinals will roll out to Opening Day without him for the first time in a long time, handing those duties over to the exuberant Brayan Pena. To be honest with you, I am ok with the Cardinals waiting until he is 125% ready. Pena is already building a relationship with the staff and while he is no Yadier Molina, he will do just fine for as long as the Cardinals need to use him. 

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With that said, the Cardinals are a bit bare behind Brayan Pena at this point. The next catchers on the depth chart are Eric Fryer and Mike Ohlman. Fryer was signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason, and Ohlman spent last season in AA Springfield, showing some good pop in the Texas League last season, likely getting him full-time catching duties in AAA Memphis this season. Neither seem to be good major league backups at this point.

John Mozeliak stated that at this point in time they are not looking at acquiring another catcher, but it is not something that he has ruled out yet according to Hummel. Later today, we will take a look at who is available for the Cardinals should the need for another catcher arise. I think at this point, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and grab the best guy available. The worst thing you have to do is release a guy in May, when everything sorts itself out.

I like the organization’s mindset here, at this point I think Molina is a long-shot to be the Molina we know best by Opening Day. I for one, would prefer that thumb be the healthiest it can be before Molina even so much as thinks about getting behind the plate, let alone grabbing a bat. If that means that Molina misses the entire month of April, that is fine by me.

Next: Is Molina a Hall of Fame Catcher?

Molina’s long term health this season is the most important thing to this team right now. This club will be fighting for their playoff lives all season, and we cannot have Molina missing time in the middle of the season for an injury that wasn’t rehabbed well enough.