It's been a crazy season for the Cardinals and catcher Willson Contreras to say the least. They benched Contreras from his catching duties earlier this year, just to go back on that decision a few weeks later. There's at least one person connected to the Cardinals' organization that believes they will reopen the issue again this offseason.
While appearing on 101 ESPN's "The Fast Lane", Brad Thompson, a former Cardinal and current color commentator for Cardinals games on Bally Sports Midwest, talked about Contreras' future behind the plate for the Cardinals, and believed that the club would ask him to become a corner outfielder and designated hitter going forward while possibly catching a few games here or there.
While Thompson made it clear that he doesn't have inside information on the topic, he is close with the organization and is right when he says the club has made it sound like they will open up this conversation again. Back in July, John Mozeliak said the organization would handle who is the everyday catcher in 2024 during the offseason.
I think this would be a huge mistake by the Cardinals if they were to remove Contreras from catching duties again. Sure, a different catcher may help their pitching "play up" compared to Contreras, but there are so many reasons why it would backfire in a big way. The Cardinals already have so many players who are vying for playing time in the corner outfield or at DH. Adding Contreras to that mix would make that issue even worse.
Contreras bounced back in a huge way during the second half at the plate, playing as one of the Cardinals' best hitters and becoming much more comfortable in St. Louis. He is not a good defensive catcher, but he never has been. The Cardinals shouldn't have expected Contreras to magically become something that he's not. Giving up on Contreras as an everyday catcher already has the potential to derail this team once again and cause so many more issues.
How about this for a brilliant idea - instead of changing the position of one of your best bats and the guy you gave a long-term deal to be your catcher, how about the Cardinals spend the necessary money to upgrade the rotation this offseason and fix their issues by bringing in legit talent, not patching their issues.
I'd be shocked if the Cardinals actually went through with this. All of the trickle-down issues it would create seem like much more of a problem than the potential benefit of having a new catcher. I expect the Cardinals to be laser-focused on upgrading their rotation this offseason, and the Contreras talk will die down again.
If not, my tone about this team rebounding in 2024 may change very quickly.