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With St. Louis Cardinals legendary catcher Yadier Molina still on the injured list with about two months left in the season, what will the Cardinals do in his absence?
Yadier Molina may not return to the St. Louis Cardinals‘ backstop until mid-August. After recovering from knee issues while back home in Puerto Rico, Molina is expected to go on a rehab assignment soon. What should the Cardinals do in the meantime?
The Cardinals called Ivan Herrera from AAA Memphis. Herrera was believed to be Molina’s heir apparent. However, the youngster struggled to hit only .111/.190/.111 and was sent back to Memphis.
Molina’s backup for the past couple of seasons has been Andrew Knizner. He has received the bulk of the starts at catcher in Molina’s absence. Prior to the All-Star break, Knizner was heating up at the plate. He’s hitting .207/.300/.260. He has a strikeout rate of 20.5% but has five doubles, a homer, 11 runs scored, and 17 RBI. Defensively, he’s struggled with -5 defensive runs saved. This is not what you really want from your everyday catcher.
Austin Romine, 33, has been a durable backup to Knizner when he needs a rest day. As of now, Romine is hitting .148/.207/.148. He has filled the role, but he isn’t close to being a permanent option to fill in for Molina.
Who could the Cardinals trade for to get a suitable replacement for Yadier Molina?
The top-catching target, Willson Contreras, seems like a good choice. Contreras is the top-performing catcher that the Cardinals desire on their roster. He’s hitting .253/.366/.455 with a .821 OPS, 13 home runs, 48 runs scored, and 35 RBI. Defensively, the NL All-Star Game starting catcher has -3 defensive runs scored. Again, it’s not exactly what you want defensively, but it’s a huge upgrade offensively, which the Cardinals definitely need from the position.
Unfortunately, there is no way the Chicago Cubs would trade Contreras to their longtime rival.
Because of this, oher options would have to be explored instead. Let’s take a look at some options the Cardinals may consider trading for the get some help at catcher while Molina is out.