Yadier Molina has retired after 19 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals have a difficult task ahead in replacing him.
Yadier Molina will not be replaced. There is no replacing Yadier Molina.
The Cardinals will seek a new catcher. And finding a new catcher will be a difficult task for the Cardinals. The pitching staff depended on Molina. The lineup depended on him. Manager Oli Marmol and the coaching staff depended on him. And the fan base adored him for it.
Andrew Knizner has been Molina’s backup. He filled the role nicely. Unfortunately, he is just that. A back-up. And a good one. The Cardinals had hoped the man believed to be Molina’s heir apparent, Ivan Herrera, would be ready before the legend eventually retired.
Herrera was allowed to step up and take over the role when Molina left the team at one point to take care of personal matters back home in Puerto Rico. Herrera seemed overwhelmed with the task at hand. He still needs some development and will get that opportunity.
In the meantime, the Cardinals must find a veteran catcher with a bat. This free-agent class will have many options for the Cardinals to consider.
Tucker Barnhart is an option for the Cardinals’ backstop
Barnhart was a vital member of the Cincinnati Reds until they began slashing their payroll. Barnhart was unceremoniously traded to the Detroit Tigers, where he had a dismal season in 2022.
While with the Tigers, he slashed .221/.287/.267 with an OPS of .554 in 94 games. He scored ten doubles, one home run, 16 runs, and 16 RBI. He’s previously won Rawlings Gold Glove honors in 2017 and 2020.
He has a career 4 WAR. With a veteran presence and keen abilities, Barnhart is a player the Cardinals should kick the tires on this offseason