For several seasons, Knizner has been the backup to legendary Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. In other words, Knizner was the backup to a man who did not like not playing. It has been hard to Knizner much playing time, but this season has been a bit different.
Knizner is still the team backup for Willson Contreras. He, however, has had a difficult season in that he and the pitching staff had a difficult time adapting to no longer having Molina around. Knizner did receive a bulk of the playing time while Contreras worked with the pitchers on what they needed from him.
Once Knizner got a handle on things, Knizner did return to the backup role. Things took a weird turn this season though. Knizner had to go on the injured list due to a serious groin injury. During that time, the backup became Ivan Herrera, once thought to be Molina's heir. And this time around, Herrera showed why he was thought to be Molina's heir.
While Knizner has returned from the injured list, this left Herrera going back to AAA Memphis.
Knizner is having his best season offensively, too. He's hitting .255/.275/.483 with six doubles, nine home runs, 22 runs scored, and 26 RBI. He is arbitration eligible in 2024 and doesn't hit free agency until 2026.
Herrera hasn't even completed a half-season with the Cardinals. During his eight games with St. Louis this season, he hit .348/.423/.391 with a double, three runs scored, and an RBI.
With many talented catchers in the minor league system, the Cardinals may be forced into a decision this offseason. Do they keep both Herrera and Knizner? Or do they trade one of the catchers for starting pitching? Would the Cardinals keep the proven backup in Knizner or take a gamble on their young prospect in Herrera?