How will the Cardinals handle their catching tandem?
The Cardinals had quite the fiasco with their catching situation in 2023, but things appear to be a lot smoother as we enter 2024 with Willson Contreras and Ivan Herrera at the helm. The question remains though - how will the Cardinals balance their playing time?
I talked about this a few days ago that Contreras and Herrera could form one of, if not the best catching tandem in baseball this year, and with Herrera's youth, they likely want him playing as much as possible throughout the year.
Contreras started 89 games behind the plate last year, and that was after being removed from catching duties for a few weeks. If I had to guess, I think he'd catch more games in 2024, especially with the work he has put in this offseason behind the dish. If he catches about 100 games in 2024, that leaves Herrera with about 62 starts during the year.
Now, there will be some games where both guys play, as there are usually about 10-15 games a year where the starting catcher does not finish the game, but 62 starts for Herrera isn't what I would call a ton of playing time, but there are other impacts on the roster if Herrera catches more.
Contreras swung the Cardinals' best bat in 2023, and he will likely be a top 3-5 bat on the roster again this season. When he is not starting at catcher, the club is going to want him at DH frequently. Contreras got 30 starts there last year, and that number could grow this year if they have a lot of trust in Herrera.
However they decide to handle their playing time will have a direct impact on their development and performance, but also impact those same things with a number of other players on the roster.