Ranking the St. Louis Cardinals biggest X-Factors post-trade deadline

ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 15: Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on June 15, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 15: Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on June 15, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images) /
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Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on in the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 24, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on in the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 24, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

No. 5: Yadier Molina

It is no secret how bad the Cardinals have been at catcher this season. It truly makes you appreciate the greatness of Yadier Molina that has been on display for so long, and he still has a bit of gas left in the tank to give this club down the stretch.

The Andrew Knizner experiment is clearly not sustainable more than spot starts. Ivan Herrera is a promising prospect but not quite ready yet for sustained MLB action. Perhaps the club could catch lighting in a bottle from depth catcher Austin Allen, who the Cardinals acquired at the deadline. But in all honesty, any production at or behind the plate must end up coming from the future Hall of Famer.

Molina has played in just 43 games this season, with a .502 OPS and has mostly looked overmatched offensively. Molina still possess well above average defensive ability and his leadership of a pitching staff is unmatched, making him extremely valuable to St. Louis, even if he is not producing at the plate.

It is no coincidence that since returning from the IL on August 2nd, the Cardinals have given up just 8 runs in 5 games, and there appears to be a jolt of energy and determination in the clubhouse. Molina remains the heartbeat of the Cardinals, and his leadership will help guide the club in big games, like Saturday night’s 1-0 nail biter over the Yankees.

Expect Molina to give it his all down the stretch, his final postseason push of his career. The team is thriving off of his presence, and it could put the club on a magical run.

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