The St. Louis Cardinals have a huge task to replace legendary catcher Yadier Molina. Many options are being discussed as the MLB Winter Meetings approach.
It’s hard to replace someone who has meant so much to an organization. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has the colossal task of replacing Yadier Molina after close to two decades behind the plate, leading the pitching staff and team on the field.
Mozeliak has said he will explore all avenues, from trade to free agency, to find a replacement for Molina. Andrew Knizner has been Molina’s backup but hasn’t shown what’s necessary to take over the position permanently. Ivan Herrera was believed to be the heir apparent to Molina. Herrera spent some time with St. Louis but struggled to take off and impress. The youngster will get his chance but must get some work in the minor leagues to continue his development.
Names floated as replacements include William Contreras, Sean Murphy, and one of the Blue Jays’ talented catchers, Alejandro Kirk or Danny Jansen. Another option floated about has been Christian Vasquez. He earned the name “Little Yadi” from teammate Joe Kelly, who spent time in the Cardinals organization with Molina and Vazquez in the Red Sox organization.
Mozeliak has much to consider as he heads into the Winter Meetings this week. Let’s rank the most popular options for Molina’s replacement.
3. The Cardinals can sign free agent Willson Contreras
Contreras is not the defensive power that Molina has been over the years. But he is an upgrade on offense. Additionally, he has been public in his desire to be considered for the Cardinals’ next catcher.
Before the end of the 2022 season, Contreras spoke with Cardinals pitcher and former Cubs teammate Jose Quintana about the Cardinals. Quintana, now a free agent, was very complimentary of the organization and Contreras’ possible fit and expressed his desire to return to the team.
Contreras was a part of the 2016 Cubs World Series championship team. This may cause pause for many a Cardinals fan. But for his career, Contreras has hit .256/.349/.459 with an OPS of .808, with 117 home runs and 365 RBI.
When and if Contreras puts on that Cardinals jersey, it will become a far-gone memory of his Cubbie days. Contreras has also received interest from the Minnesota Twins and the Houston Astros.
Expect the hot stove for Contreras to be hot this week.