Catcher Yadier Molina of the Cardinals has suffered a torn thumb ligament, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is expected to miss eight to twelve weeks, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
Molina, a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate, has been off his usual pace at the plate but is still one of the game’s most productive catchers. He owns a .287/.341/.409 triple-slash on the year, after averaging a .842 OPS over his last three campaigns. Also regarded as one of (if not the) best defensive backstops and staff managers in baseball, Molina is essentially irreplaceable.
In the immediate term, the Cards will call up minor leaguer Audry Perez to fill Molina’s roster spot, tweets ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden. But it would be more than a stretch to suggest that Perez, along with seldom-used backup Tony Cruz, can match Molina’s production and presence for the club.
Certainly, the loss of Molina would appear to position St. Louis as a possible buyer behind the plate. The club will take its time finding a fill-in reports Goold (via Twitter). The club does not feel it needs to make a move before the All-Star game.
MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently took a look at a relatively barren catching market. Of course, the recently-designated A.J. Pierzynski is also fully available, though ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that he gets the sense that Pierzynski is not a top option for St. Louis. Another possibility, Crasnick suggests on Twitter (and Goold also notes the team will consider), is veteran John Buck, who was recently designated by the Mariners. And ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden opines on Twitter that Kurt Suzuki of the Twins — twice traded to contenders in the last two years and playing on a cheap, one-year deal — could make the most sense as a target.