Is Willson Contreras on the hot seat again?
Mozeliak also let it be known that the Cardinals' number one catcher issue will be reexamined this offseason.
The issue was believed to have been settled soon after it became an issue in April. Members of the pitching staff had expressed frustration that it was not providing the same quality of catching preparation as legendary catcher Yadier Molina.
After the issue was made public, Marmol demoted Conteras to be the team's designated hitter while he worked with the pitching staff on what they needed from him. About a week later, Conteras returned to everyday catching duties, and the pitching staff complimented him.
Andrew Knizner was placed on the injured list was a severe groin injury. This allowed Ivan Herrera to rejoin the Cardinals.
Herrera was once thought to be Molina's heir but failed to perform to those lofty expectations when he was promoted last season to St. Louis while Molina was tending to business outside the United States.
Since his return, Herrera has shown glimpses of what was expected of him. He's hitting .375/.412/.438 with a .850 OPS. He has six hits, three runs, and two RBIs. Meanwhile, Contreras has been productive at the plate, whether he's catching or acting as the team's designated hitter. He's .241/.335/.427 with an OPS of .762. He has 20 doubles, 11 home runs, 36 runs, 37 RBIs, and five stolen bases. He's a good bat to have in the lineup.
Given more opportunities this season than in the past, Knizner is hitting .228/.254/.412 with a .666 OPS. He has six doubles, five home runs, 17 runs and 16 RBIs.
During Monday's press conference, Mozeliak said issues regarding the everyday catching duties would be handled during the offseason. Without going into details, Mozeliak is still disappointed with how Contreras has handled the pitching staff. Mozeliak said the Cardinals would have three catchers on the roster, meaning Herrera will remain with the Cardinals once Knizner returns from the injured list.
Conteras signed a five-year $87.5 million contract with the Cardinals this offseason. He's been an excellent addition to the line-up, but it seems there is a level of comfort that still hasn't been achieved with the rotation. Giving up on Contreras after four months seems unfair, as some blame could be directed at the pitching staff for not adapting to him. Could some of Mozeliak's moves regarding pitching benefit Contreras and his style of handling pitchers?
While Herrera appears to have regained his heir to Molina standing, Marmol admires his grit and looks forward to giving him more chances. Could Knizner be traded once he returns from the injured list? Could Conteras be traded in the offseason? While moving Knizner seems more likely; it will be interesting to see how Mozeliak handles this, given his frustration level with the 2023 season.