Expect a whole new Willson Contreras with the presence of Yadier Molina

After an extremely weird start to his Cardinals career for Willson Contreras, he will be highly motivated to improve his game which starts with learning from the best.

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Aaron Doster/GettyImages
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Arguably the biggest move this off-season for the St. Louis Cardinals has been Yadier Molina has returned in a special advisor role for the organization. President of Baseball Operation John Mozeliak stated in a recent Cardinals Insider interview that Yadi is looking to obtain more knowledge and experience from the business side of baseball. He has manager's experience from the WBC and Puerto Rico and also owns a basketball franchise in Puerto Rico. But Yadi is looking to fully understand what happens behind the scenes with MLB franchises. 

Many fans desired for Yadi to become the next bench coach to potentially succeed Oliver Marmol if the team decided to part ways with Oli. But Yadi is still expected to make appearances in the dugout throughout the season. His feel for the game is sought after by anyone involved in the game and will be tapped into by the Cardinals coaching staff. With how the 2023 season was handled, many issues have arisen from the lackluster experience and proper fundamentals of the game. Areas to improve on will include better reads on the base paths, more hustle on plays, a better tuned-in defense, and overall better pitching from the rotation and bullpen. This is where Yadier can make his biggest contribution to the organization.

In all of last season’s rollercoaster headlines, the biggest question mark was the team deciding to remove Contreras as their everyday catcher. Many of the veterans on the pitching staff claimed that Contereas called for pitches not in their repertoire and made questionable calls on pitches in certain situations. The decision ended up being costly in many factors. The clubhouse leader Adam Wainwright ended up having the worst season of his career, Jack Flaherty got traded at the deadline and had an overall terrible season, and Miles Mikolas had the highest ERA of his Cardinals career.

The potential most costly factor out of this situation is Willson Contreas developing resentment toward his new team and losing trust in the organization that just signed him to a 5-year contract. But Willson owned up to the decision and showed off his professionalism with it. He ended the year as one of the better offensive catchers in the game which is what he was signed for. 

The Cardinals have learned from their mistakes and are addressing their weaknesses. The Starting rotation is finally getting the innings support it has been needing. Mozeliak is still searching for a back-end relief pitcher to help hold or save games. The coaching staff has several new additions which now properly fill an adequate MLB coaching staff.

All that is left is for the players to train and prepare for the 2024 season. For Willson Contreras, it will be solely focused on learning his pitching staff and calling games more efficiently. The blame game is no longer directed at him and he can now work on his game with no pressure or distractions. Yadier Molina has a full off-season to get Willson ready for 2024 and beyond. The organization will be improving in many facets without publicly addressing them. You will see the first upgrade starting with a new and improved Willson Contreras.