TODAY: St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak specified that Contreras will be a designated hitter rather than an outfielder “unless there’s some sort of emergency,” Katie Woo and Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic report. Mozeliak also shed some more light on the decision to make the position change, saying that “obviously the Cardinals were used to [Molina] behind the plate for close to two decades. The nuances of that position, maybe very subtle, are what a lot of our pitchers were used to. What we were seeing was a lack of confidence.
“Normally, you would say, why didn’t you address this in Spring Training? But in Spring Training, it’s so different in terms of what people are trying to work on. Pitchers are going a couple of innings. It doesn’t really count….We just decided to do it head on, put it out there. Do we think we’ve seen Willson catch his last game? No. But this is going to take a little time to get him to where we feel he understands the expectations of what this role is for us.”
Like manager Oliver Marmol said yesterday, Mozeliak reiterated that Contreras wasn’t being singled out as a cause of the team’s struggles. “What I don’t want to have happen is a finger-point, this is all Willson’s fault. It’s not. There are many parts of our team right now that are not performing to what we expected,” Mozeliak said.
MAY 6: On the face of it, the Cardinals’ decision to call up minor league catcher Tres Barrera didn’t seem like the sort of deal to make headlines around baseball, but the ramifications of it are significant. It’s not so much the call up of Barrera, but the fact his arrival means St Louis will shift Willson Contreras off catcher for the “next couple of weeks”, as Katie Woo of The Athletic reports, with Andrew Knizner to take over as the primary backstop.
It’s a huge move to shift your star off-season recruit off his primary position just a month into his first season, but the Cards clearly feel this is the best move to help them turn around their 10-23 start to the season. Contreras, signed to a five-year, $87.5MM deal in the winter, will now serve as a DH/outfielder for the team, further muddying an already crowded outfield picture in St Louis.
At the plate, Contreras has been his usual self, slashing .280/.361/.421 with a pair of home runs, good for a wRC+ of 119. That’s a slight drop on his numbers from last year but pretty much in line with his career numbers. His offensive work was never likely to be the source of any concern though, with the focus here surely on his work behind the plate.
Catchers are a challenging position to assess statistically, but there’s generally been some question marks over Contreras’ work behind the plate. Concerns over his ability to handle a pitching staff and call a game surfaced around the trade deadline last year when he was with the Cubs, and Chicago wound up holding him onto him until he hit free agency at the end of the season. That’s obviously a tricky concern to really quantify, but it’s certainly worth considering in the wake of this news.
Fangraphs gives him a -1 mark on their framing metric, while Statcast has him about middle of the pack in that regard. As far as pop time goes Contreras ranks tenth out of MLB catchers, and has cut down five of a potential 17 stolen bases so far this season. While he doesn’t rank as elite in either regard, it’s not awful either and certainly suggests that there’s more than just catching statistics that are driving this move. While there will surely be some explanation of this move from the Cardinals front office, there’s a good chance their pitching staff’s start to the season played a part here.
St Louis ranks 24th in the majors in starting pitcher ERA, a ranking that could be a lot lower were it not for the excellent start made by Jordan Montgomery. Behind the left-hander, Steven Matz, Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty are all sporting ERAs well north of 5. While the reporting suggests this move is only for the next couple of weeks, it’ll be interesting to see if Contreras can force his way back into handling catching duties or whether this the long term move.
For now though, it creates even more uncertainty in the Cardinals outfield picture. In today’s game, the team ran out Lars Nootbar, Dylan Carlson and Alec Burleson in the outfield, with Contreras handling DH, and that seems like the most common group we’ll see over the next few weeks. Yet the team will welcome back Tyler O’Neill at some stage, and still has top outfield prospect Jordan Walker at Triple-A, while Contreras is expected to feature in the outfield mix as well.
It’s possible Contreras winds up working his way back into the catching picture at some point, but the Cardinals were often speculated as a team that could look to trade an outfielder before this move today, and with another key bat now in that mix a trade certainly seems like a possibility at some point over the summer.
Goes to show you how much they miss Yadi
also goes to show that signing Contrares to such a large contract, they’re stuck with him no matter what
As a Cubs fan this is just absolutely beautiful. He’s quite a light hitting LFer/DH for that money. I hope he enjoys playing for a better organization… oh and just wait till he has his perennial hamstring injury and misses about 20-30 games and never even gets back to his best production.
Reading the comments, I still see most people still don’t get. They’re talking about his “defense”. In their mind they’re talking about framing, blocking balls, and throwing out base runners.
This issue is preparing for the opposing lineup, calling the game, and managing the game. It’s pitches called, location, situation. How well does he understand the pitcher and the hitter. That is his weakness. I assume since this decision game from management, the Cardinal pitching staff likely discussed these issues with someone. This is something Cub pitchers had voiced in the past and having a manager that caught alongside Contreras, Ross understood.
This isn’t at all surprising. Contreras has always been over rated for his catching ability. He doesn’t have any. Teams who wanted to sign him looked at his offense, which was bloated thanks to playing in the Wrigley Field bandbox. (By the way, Rickets should get rid of those baskets already!) I though the Cards should have gone after Vazquez. He can definitely handle a pitching staff.
Don’t want to say I told you so, But I did Cards fans. Pitchers just don’t like throwing to him. I suspect because he just doesn’t work with them very well. Has to be a give and take.
Whatever. If our pitchers throw a great game, they get all the credit. If they throw a bad game, it someone else’s fault.
It’s the same thing that it was with the Cubs and Heyward. You look at him and you see all the physical tools and you dream of what he COULD be but then you’re stuck with the reality of what he really is which isn’t good unfortunately. Good Luck with that.
I didn’t expect him to come here and be the next Yadi. I knew he has shortcomings before he showed up. With that said, I think he’s more than serviceable, and should not get so much of the blame for the team’s horrible start. Either way, it is what it is, whatever will be, will be. I’m not the guy who gets paid to figure it out, and I’m not going to worry about it.
As I understand it, a lot of organizations call the majority of the pitches from the dugout based on data science, and established aces given more leeway like catchers that pick up on what they already want to throw and just occasionally offer their own advice.
I don’t want to discount the value of a smart, veteran catcher putting in tons of video review work and helping handle a young pitching staff, but I think for most MLB pitchers “handling the staff” really isn’t as important as blocking wild pitches and keeping runners from taking extra bases.
@diggin- you are correct. I don’t think anyone is saying the cardinals troubles are all on Contreras. But with the move out of catcher, baseball’s best organization sure sees him as part of the problem, and at $17.5m/yr for 5 yrs on a small market team, especially now as a light hitting LF/DH that makes it even worse.
It isn’t blocking pitches and throwing that are his problems. It’s the way he catches the ball. When a lefty is on the mound and throws a slider he catches the ball backhanded and actually sweeps the ball out of the zone. Used to drive Lester crazy. If you do that on 3-2 it turns K’s into walks. Framing and how he catches the ball are his biggest problems. Plus he’s always hopping around behind the plate and throwing the ball all over the place which drives pitchers who pitch at a certain pace nuts. As Jimmy Piersall famously said, He has 5 tools, He just hasn’t got a toolbox.
I don’t like the terms of the contract, but as long as he stays healthy, he should provide more return than Fowler.. that’s a plus, I guess. (their contracts were/are comparable, which is why I brought that up)
Based on Marmol’s comments, it doesn’t seem like the Cardinals call the game from the dugout. He specifically mentioned that they wanted to use catchers that were familiar with the staff and Contreras wasn’t picking it up.
I know the Cubs don’t. Drew Smyly came a couple outs from a no hitter the other day, the first thing he mentioned was Gomes pitch selection, understanding the hitter and their swings. Smyly, a veteran, said all he did was sit back and throw the ball
Maybe it isn’t important for every team, but I’m pretty sure a bunch of teams aren’t rostering guys that hit .200 because managing a staff is easy.
IDK. If David Ross couldn’t fix him in 3 years, I don’t see where he’s gonna improve a lot with any body else. I bash Ian Happ and Madrigal and then they both make great plays in the field and have game winning hits so what do I know.
@diggin- lol, he ends up on the DL every summer for up to 30 games for a hamstring and then never returns to peak form.
I don’t doubt you, at all. You guys should know a lot more about him than I do. Considering he should know he’s getting an unfair share of the blame, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those “injuries” happen pretty soon. I’m guessing the clubhouse is becoming more and more toxic as the team continues to lose.
How easily the Cubs fan above turns against a long time Cubs catcher. He is not a light hitting LF/DH btw. Just not worth the contract
I believe the baskets were supposed to prevent fan interference. Just a guess though.
How quickly the Cardinal fans fell in love with a long-time hated Cub.
But, I don’t dislike Contreras, I don’t think many Cub fans do. Pointing out his limitations has nothing to feelings toward a player. Kyle Hendricks throws soft and will be fortunate to return to his old form. That doesn’t mean I dislike him, that’s reality
“For me, I like this better. It’s a better organization. It’s the old school way, which I love.”
“Ever since I got here it’s been everything just one way. The Cardinal way.”
Willy, I think you’re seeing a huge dose of Cardinal Way right now.
As a baseball fan, this seems like a knee jerk reaction after only 30 games or so. He did forgo the WBC to learn the staff better. I would have expected a longer leash.
“As a Cubs fan this is just absolutely beautiful.” He is celebrating the fact that he is in a conundrum and that he is no longer gonna be catching. That’s more than pointing out weaknesses. Therefore, he probably cheered for the guy for years and within a month of playing on a new team is celebrating his problems. That’s fine but don’t act like my statement was addressing critique of a players weaknesses.
Well it is a better organization (or it was I thought).but even if you disagree with that (just my opinion obviously) you must admit he has been on a team that wasn’t very good for awhile and he joined one that was expected to be pretty good and has been stable for a good chunk of time. It’s not a diss to the fans (both these teams have a great fan base).He was likely unhappy with some aspects of the Cubs front office (possibly not getting signed as well).
Yeah comparable in money sense but Willson will provide more with that bat. Who knows, maybe he hits better, and it could help him be healthier in the long run.
If you want rose colored glasses, that’s the best pair.
For all the fans that thought their team should have given up top prospects at the trade deadline last year to get this guy, a whole bunch of sighs of relief
Just to add to your point rish, what is he supposed to say. I would want him to say this is the best place, wherever he is at the time.
If he doesn’t, I’d be worried. I am a cubs fan, I saw Sandberg manage the Phillies triple AAA team. I told him I was a huge fan of his on the cubs, he said “I’m with the Phillies now”
He didn’t mean that in any disrespect.
Willson plays with passion, he better believe he’s in the best place to succeed at any given time. People need to relax.
It’s not like he’s terrible.
He is a hitting first catcher, everyone knew this already, he can also play other positions, and be a great bat off the bench. The trade value likely effects that, I don’t know how much that’s worth. But it’s also not negative value.
The baskets were installed in 1969 to actually stop the fans from jumping on to the field after wins.
@diggin I don’t agree at all. A good catcher gets plenty of credit when they do what they’re supposed to do, and call good games. Do they get a share of the cy young prize? No. But I’m willing to bet that pitchers who win likely do thank them.
A pitchers key is command. But the catcher is supposed to be the one who knows the batters and calls the game. If command is the issue, and a pitcher is walking a lot of people, and missing locations with pitches that wind up getting crushed, the pitcher is to blame. And often times in post games you’ll even hear them admit that their control was an issue.
If a pitcher is hitting spots though and still getting crushed, it’s bad game calling on the catchers end. If an ump isn’t calling strikes in certain areas despite a pitcher hitting it, and the catcher keeps going there and getting the pitcher behind in counts, or a pitcher hits the spot called for and the ball gets crushed, that’s definitely on the catcher.
If the catchers position were simple as just being on the other side of the plate to catch a ball, anyone could do it. But they’re supposed to be calling the game. They’re supposed to be working with the pitchers. And if pretty much a whole pitching staff is performing poorly, odds are, it’s not the pitchers at fault.
Also why there’s been pitchers before who pretty much let it be known that when they pitch, they want the backup catcher calling the game, regardless of whether or not that person is even remotely a good offensive hitter or not. Cubs manager Ross is a solid example, not necessarily because he was a bad hitter, but Jon Lester preferred to have him catching for him. Same when they were in Boston together.
If control of a pitcher is the problem in a game, the pitcher is at fault. If a whole pitching staff has been pretty much scuffling through the start of a season, I’d say it’s safe to say there’s a problem at catcher.
@Rishi- Not true. I loved him as a Cub, especially earlier in his career. But after seeing the same year after year and near the end him starting to do more stupid things, I didn’t mind not retaining him one bit, especially at that cost. Knowing he gets injured every year and now he’s getting older and his body won’t even recover as quickly, it was a no brainer that they didn’t have to move forward with him on the team. Then for him to immediately say all the things about the cardinals are the better organization he burned his bridges. Thats when it was easy to not root for him anymore. But the truth is, if he is a LF/DH, he truly is not worth that money. So for this to happen with him on Cardinals…. It’s quite funny!!
It was for your own safety, Mike.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Just little brother syndrome – easily triggered. How many emotional goodbyes did they give this toolbox?
@Rishi- lolol you have this all wrong. It’s funny and beautiful because our rival is stuck with whatever his future is. I’m fine with it. I like the direction the cubs are going. I also like the direction the cardinals are going (the wrong direction). That is what’s beautiful about all this. We have catchers that are helping our pitching staff improve and defense that is helping our pitching staff as well. That’s it. Nothing else.
I don’t wish harm on Willson or even want him to do poorly. I know exactly what he is. You guys can enjoy him. I know the cubs have a catcher now that is handling the pitching staff well and has produced more at the plate in addition to that (a bonus)! So it’s funny to see the Cardinals in freak out mode one month into the season about their catcher position. It’s as simple as that.
@NicoHoerndawg—Funny how your Cubbies signed a light hitting corner outfielder from the Cards and were stuck with him for years Bae cause of that bad contract.
Spots, you hit the nail on the head. Contreras defense is about league average. He is not hurting their team there. He is hurting the team by not being able to work with the pitching staff to prepare a game plan and execute it.
The pitching staff or at least a significant portion of it, must have come to Mozeliak and said we don’t have confidence in his ability to do those things.
He is no longer a catcher, Not much of a chance he moves back there with the Cardinals either. A DH with a $17.5 MM salary has little trade value.
@Robert- I don’t disagree. I’m sure you guys got a kick out of that over the years. But how did it feel laughing about Heyward while the cubs ended your 2015 postseason run and then won the 2016 World Series? Heywards rain delay speech was worth it if that was the best he could do besides being a good teammate. Wasn’t my money so I’m ok with it all.
Oh great now I have the stalker. At least I know who it is now it’s the Gorilla who calls himself the Great Harambe. he can’t outsmart somebody so he makes up a false ID and calls himself 1536 instead of 1526. Hey degrom, He’s your stalker probably. he can’t even copy the Logo right. Moron. At least I can report him now.
Back in the day the bleacher bums used to have a beer race. One guy would stand on top the wall in LF corner and another would stand atop the wall in RF and a gal would place a Old Stlye in the middle CF and the 2 would race, running atop the wall to get the beer and maybe a kiss from the lady! A few would fall on the field and they’d have to stop the game and the stopage could be quite lengthy as some would be seriously hurt. So the baskets were installed to catch the drunks from falling onto the field.
Get lost Stalker Boy Harambe. You’re Pathetic.
How many times are they going to run this story?
Missing Yadier Molina?
Well or course who wouldn’t miss a hall of fame catcher because of his game presence, and his ability to handle a pitching staff?
This is more or less about Contreras ability and John Mozeliaks unwillingness to negotiate a better deal for Sean Murphy? He hung up the phone and signed Contreras and then the braves got him for less and helped a division rirvial by sending the younger brother to Milwaukee in the deal and just like the Molina family, the younger brother is the more talented of the two….
So Mozeliak got doubled burnt by not negotiating a better deal for Murphy and Oakland knows that, Atlanta knows that, and Milwaukee knows that
With his arrogance, when Oakland said we’ll send him to Atlanta and Contreras will end up in Milwaukee if you don’t give us the prospects he hung up and signed Contreras Daring them to do it
Unless he’s trading with the Rockies, Mo is overmatched in trade negotiations. Other teams know it.
The real problem is, Mo doesn’t know it. He thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room at all times.
How many dozens of us were on here when Willson was signed stating he couldn’t call a game or handle a pitching staff? Only to be told that it didn’t matter – Willson was a much better hitter than Yadi. Then the posters did the MLBTR thing of noting his offensive prowess with numerous stats, which was decent for an OF but exceptional for a Catcher. Wowie! The Cardinals going to waltz through the playoffs and into the WS.
They actually gave this guy five-years, $87.5 million.
Now he’s going to be a OF/DH along with 87 other guys they have.
I truly believe Mr. William O. DeWitt, Jr. needs to contact Mike Schilt. Explain that Mo is no longer in charge, and would he please return and bring back St. Louis Cardinals baseball – the way that Branch Rickey and George Kissell set it up, that was so successful for so many decades.
Mo’s job would then be to call around MLB for a while trying to get someone fool enough to take on that contract (he can work from home). After a reasonable period of time both Mo and Willson would be DFA’ed.
He actually replaced Yadi – the smartest Catcher in MLB for years – with a DH. Stand back and look – this is hilarious.
I wouldn’t be so cocky about that Rockies trade either. Which is the team saddled with a likely declining 3B making $35m a year again? The one that couldn’t sign Scherzer or Verlander because they didn’t have the money? Also the prospect they sent to the Rockies is the best hitter in AAA.
I like it. I hate that it’s come to this. But there’s no more room for excuses or politician-style double speak.
To be clear, I don’t blame Contreras. The other posters who have said he looks just like he did with the Cubs are 100% correct. He has been everything we had reason to expect. But he was the wrong guy. Plain and simple.
Mo’s long term track record looks great at first inspection. But under greater scrutiny it doesn’t hold up. He rode Jeff Luhnow’s coattails. And his more recent track record is pretty bad if you take the Arenado trade out of the equation.
I know this sounds like knee jerk criticism after the first really bad month in a guy’s tenure, but I’ve felt this way for a long time. He’s not very good at his job. He’s just lucky to work with a bunch of people who are.
I stand with the fans who think it’s wrong to put so much blame on Contreras. Okay, he doesn’t frame well, his defense is kinda shaky sometimes, but is he supposed to be so good he makes up for everyone else’s mistakes, which are just as, or more, problematic than his? Go figure, everybody’s blaming the new guy instead of looking in the mirror and being honest with themselves.
Anyone who thinks our record would be much better with Yadi behind the plate is wrong, in my opinion. I just don’t get it… the staff stinks, most people already knew it would, but a catcher is supposed to polish a bunch of turds into precious metals?
Waino gave up 4 ER in 5 IP, has a 7.20 ERA after his first game back… is that Knizner’s fault?
Mo & Co’s arrogance, frugality, and poor talent evaluation is what put us here, not a catcher’s inability to be perfect every game.
And he shouldn’t be bashed for taking the money, that was a smart move for him.
Let’s also be clear, he’s not the reason they are losing all those games.
yes. Mo needs to go. I’ve been saying this for years. he’s a terrible micromanager. he gives gersh the gm role yet doesn’t allow him to handle the position as they are supposed to. mozeliak is basically handling everything besides analytics. Mo has made so many crap signings including Contreras and matz as well as several others. he had the chance to get Murphy ande wouldn’t try to make it work with other players.
Watching the Tigers series this weekend, the present St Louis team is the most defensively discombobulated, offensively disjointed Cards team I’ve seen in decades. People will be getting fired. Soon.
Re: the latest update comments (5/7) from John Mozeliak and Oliver Marmol are face-saving and absolutely apathetic.
I wrote on here last winter that the pitchers were going to have trouble with Willson following Yadi. And I’m just a fan – not a guy that’s been in the business for decades.
The Cardinals could have signed Austin Hedges or Tucker Barnhart for a fraction of what they paid Willson, and their pitching wouldn’t be this bad.
For multiple decades the St. Louis Cardinals were consistently one of the smartest MLB organizations in the sport – in the FO, drafting, developing, and the players on the field. Cardinals fans were arguably the most knowledgeable and faithful fans in the country. It’s isn’t just what they did with Willson – he is who he is. This is embarrassing. I can just imagine the outcry in St. Louis. Those fans know baseball.
As a team the Cardinals pitching staff is exactly average in HR%, better than average in SO%, and about average in BB%. So what is wrong with the staff? Game calling and game management.
With the exception of a handful of Aces that are using PitchCom to call their own pitches, that falls on the catcher. It 100% falls on the catcher in St Louis where the Cardinal Way is for the pitcher to rely on the catcher to call the game.
No its definitely the catcher’s inability. Stop making excuses for players who can’t play the position I know it hurts haha
Where’s the guy with the gorilla avatar to tell everyone how the Cubs made a huge mistake and Contreras is great?
I’ll Be honest though, I was going to watch the game today just to see Wainwright throw to Contreras. I wanted to see the war.
Same place as the guy who SWORE that Contreras would never leave Chicago because he “seems like a sentimental person” and said that taking what they could get for Contreras at last summer’s deadline would negatively affect what trams were willing to offer the Cubs for their future trade chips.
@ happy ripper
That’s not how trades work. In all likelyhood, St L just didn’t have players the A’s wanted.
Really wouldn’t have been hard to get Murphy either, Atlanta offered a pretty weak package that was widely mocked. Fans here seemed to side with the GM though, feeling like any prospect package couldn’t compete with signing Contreras or some good defensive catcher that hits .200
this is all on mozeliak. he’s made bad move after bad move. he needs to go. he fired a great manager for Ollie and then signed this catcher along with matz a couple years ago. he’s just made bonehead moves over the last several years. the only good move he’s made was picking up the lefty from the yankees.
Seems like the Cardinals are trying to scapegoat Contreras, rather than just admit that they have a lousy starting rotation.
I don’t think the Cardinals rotation isn’t much worse than the Cubs talent wise and the Cubs have the best rotation in the NL so far this year, the Cardinals the worst.
Now it turns out that Wilson Contreras is to blame for the Cardinals’ dismal performance. Mármol and Motzeliak are a couple of pathetic clowns.
exactly. I’m hoping the DeWitt family finally sees that MO is not a fit and that he’s not made great moves over the past decade. he’s a terrible gm/president.
How the pitching staff is doing when Willson is not catching? It would be good to compare those numbers.
Flattery, Mikolas and Matz all have ERA’s at least two runs higher when Contreras is behind the plate. Monty has a run higher and Woody actually has a lower ERA with Contreras.
That trend was true for Cubs pitching last season as well. Every starter had an era at least 2 runs higher except for Smyly whos was lower with Wilco and Steele who was pretty close across the board.
The thing to do is talk to the pitchers asking who they feel comfortable working with…..
Then again, that’s quite possibly what happened.
I checked the splits on the starting pitchers about a week and half ago. Super small sample size, but 3 of the starters had lower ERA’s with catchers not named Willson. I had to check because I was marveling at how good this years Cubs’ starting pitchers have looked and recognized how well both Gomes and Barnhart elevate the pitchers.
As you know, the Cubs have changed their pitching philosophies over the past few years. Their coaching as well. It’s why I think they can win the NLC this year.
The Cardinals fired their pitching coach that’s doing well working with the Rangers pitchers.
Those moves also have something to do with the stats.
@Samuel- yup the pitching infrastructure is greatly improved over the last couple years. Getting catchers who handle the staff well has proven to be the right move. Idk if we can win the Central, but I think we can be a wild card team. Really interested in seeing if our offense gets things back together and can go on a run. The starting rotation looks good.
Our bullpen is very questionable as of now. We need a legit closer AND a top tier setup man. I don’t want to see us have to trade good prospects for them either. One of my hopes is that Bellinger keeps doing great and PCA can earn a call up and prove he belongs. If so, trading Belli at the deadline for a closer could be the move. Cody Heuer will return probably in the next month and he could be a nice setup man. We really need Keegan Thompson to get right!!
It’s too bad Hosmer couldn’t magically have a hot start or put together a hot month or two so we could trade him for a set up guy. I do believe besides his veteran presence, that was part the thinking behind his signing. That Mervis would replace him anyway, and if he actually turns things around, he’d help fill another position via trade.
Thompson looked great today! Fulmer is coming around after getting beat up by the Dodgers. Alzolay handled the save this afternoon.
I think Wesneski will move to the pen after Hendricks gets activated which will be a boost and I imagine Brown, if the Cubs are in contention, will get bullpen time towards the end of the season.
I’m not a Fulmer fan but hopefully he can turn it around.
As far as a wildcard team, maybe if Mervis has zero learning curve. Sure the Cubs offense looked good today, swiping some bags and getting timely hitting (perfect spot for Madrgial with two in scoring position and only one out).
Good point about Brown. He’s getting close. I don’t have much faith in Hendricks getting back to who we need him to be. Sure hope he proves me wrong. It sure would be great!! I think even Kyle just getting to interact with our pitchers on a daily basis will make them all better too though.
The Cardinals just gave up 6 runs against the Tigers today. I don’t know who’ll get blamed for that.
Samuel—-I have hopes the Cubs can contend this year but that last road trip (1-6 against Mia/Wash) was a killer. To only be one over .500 right now puts a lot of pressure on these next four home games.
Need to be 3 over heading into that trip coming up at Min, Hou, Phil.
4-5 on that trip would be great but if the Cubs split these next 4 and hit the road only one over the risk of coming back a few under exists and going into June 5 to 7 back worries me.
The staff has a 5.17 ERA with Contreras. 3.72 with Knizner.
Machurucuto!!!! De broma no te pusiste boca de uchire como nick
Vince Ferragamo's Dog
they didn’t fire him. his contract wasn’t renewed because he wanted to go home.
While Willson played dh today, the Cards held the “explosive” Tigers to only six runs. Guess it’s the small sample size.
If I owned the team and the gm said they were doing this I would fire him yesterday. You don’t pay that guy that money to catch and not play him at his primary position a month into the season . Embarrassing signing.
In this past offseason I wasn’t very content with the team going into the regular season to compete. I didn’t expect that we were going to be this bad. To me it’s a bad decision moving Contreras from the catching position. It’s a joke after signing him for a long term contract to remove him from that position for a few weeks. We haven’t been losing because of him. It’s just a problem that we can’t win together. When the Cards hit they cannot pitch and when they pitch they cannot hit. We have a great lineup, but unfortunately it seems that we have no chemistry as a team as of right now. The starting rotation was supposed to be addressed this past offseason, but we didn’t do it. To me the real issue is that Mike Maddux is not longer the pitcher coach. I don’t blame the manager either for this terrible start of the season. This team has been terrible, but if we cannot figure it out we can trade some players at the trade deadline like Montgomery, Flaherty, Hicks, maybe O’Neill, Edman among others. However, it’s early we still can turn it around and start winning.
I had the good fortune to attend a 2010 Giants/Cards game at Busch. Yadi and Bengie were both catching. Each got to tap each other’s shinguards a few times. Very nice.
Update: John Mozeliak hires Jen Psaki to be the public face of the Cardinals front office. Psaki says this will be her biggest challenge yet.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
What’s the big deal with this? Why the press release? Stl showing no class by publicizing their dirty laundry. First with O’Neil now this, bad ju ju
The always underrated Yadi.
Way to go, Mo!
Can’t wait to see what Goldy brings at the trading deadline.
He’s a part of the reason the team ERA has imploded
Did you watch the presser when Contreras was introduced? They hyped this man up so much… ooooouuuf, go back and watch it again… I wonder if he relives that and is cringing thinking “I actually thought I could be Yadier Molina?”
Imploding is a perfect way to describe what’s going on, it’s getting very ugly, quickly.
Would be nice to get some of his Catcher numbers on this article. Pop time? SB numbers? Something on his framing? Number of passed balls?
Framing and pitch calling
More has been added to this article since my comment, guess I was just quick on the draw
I don’t know if they edited the article since your comment, but the second to last paragraph has catching stats.
They’ve added more to this article since my comment. I think I was just quick on the draw.
Larry Brown's crank
don’t worry Cubbs….I had that problem before…with my ex wife. im better now tho
Framing is meaningless. Its the umpires ability to call the pitch that varies. Where’s the stats on how often the pitcher shakes off the sign? Contreras is not Molina and vice versa. Its simply that the pitchers are not adjusting to change. Kind of like McCann being a preferred C in Chicago but a scapegoat in NY. Now he’s getting quite a bit of playing time over the much ballyhooed Adley. So did he really forget how to C for 3 years?
Mcann has 8 starts at catcher. Ruschman has 23 starts. He is not getting as much playing time as MOST backup catchers do. Knizer was getting more in St Louis.
McCann started the year on the IL. How has it been split since they activated McCann?
McCann came off the IL on 4/9 and now has 9 starts at catcher since that date. Rutschman has 18 starts at catcher plus 2 more games where he replaced McCannto start the 6th and 8th innings. A 2 to 1 split.
McCann is not taking any time from Rutschman.
McCann isn’t starting over Rutschman lol. He’s the backup and when McCann does start, Adley is DHing
Is this a sign of panic?
Little Stevie Janowsky
Yeah this is what happens when everyone knows their about to be fired.
They could have simply stated, “We feel the pitching staff will perform better with a fresh face behind the plate. And we feel we can shake this skid by giving Andrew Knizner more ABs. Any way, we’re gonna throw this crap against the wall and see how much of it is still sticking after two weeks.”
I’d have announced that the move was to preserve Contreras’ health while keeping his bat on the lineup. It’s not like the Cardinals outfielders have been knocking down any fences lately.
Contreras is hitting a little bit. This seems to call him out. Not sure a veteran catcher would like that.
That is a much better way to handle it than what the Cards did here. They essentially threw Contreras under the bus.
Yessir. And like the Tyler O’Neill mess, I don’t think there’s any coming back from this.
Marmol, “The Great Communicator”.
I guess STL is throwing in the towel! Just in time when they come to Texas June 4-7 for a sweep. lol
Especially when they face deGrom, oh wait.
Adolis Garcia is who Cardinals fans care about, not over priced Jacob deSnob who isn’t even playing… we care about the Cuban all star John Mozeliak sold for 30 pieces of silver
30 pieces of silver to the Texas Rangers
2019 AAA stats? Puke worthy right? Certainly a player you sell for cash considerations and then don’t reclaim when he’s DFAed by the Rangers because you don’t have roster space and are betting on all the white guys for some strange reason?
Has the racist Guillotine been prepped? I think a head is about to roll
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
Nootbar isn’t white. He’s biracial.
So then he’s white.
Smack him in the face. Whack!
There! He’s Neopolitan!
@Deeds- Gold Jerry, gold!!
Contreras didn’t hang those sliders in the late innings last night. Wasn’t even behind the plate at the time.
Don’t cloud the issue with facts. Mo is creating a narrative here, and you’re not helping.
The Cards had 20+ years to prepare for the retirement of Yadi.
That’s the nail in the forehead, I just can’t believe they didn’t take a different approach before knowing Yadi’s renure was coming to an end and Knizner has already fell below expectations.
I mean they still have a relatively well reputed catching prospect in Ivan Herrera at AAA who would probably be the primary C this year if they didn’t sign anyone (which was unlikely to happen)
Or you could hire a better manager
Marmol reminds me of that clueless Met’s Mgr. From 2 yrs ago. They both have that look of cluelessness constantly on their face.
I call him a dodo bird.
Excusing Schildt was… err… is a headscratcher.
I used to attend Springfield AA Texas League games. For years. Chris Maloney, Mike Shildt and Pop Warner all skippered that team and developed a lot of good players. None of them was given a crack at succeeding LaRussa. Nor was Jose Oquendo, their long time 3B coach. All were bypassed for Mike Matheny, a guy with zero pro coaching experience. I thought that was a slap in the face to all those guys and still do.
Remember when Cub “fans” were livid because they were convinced this guy should have been given an extension? Hahaha
Mediocre defensive catcher but good bat. That’s what he’s been his entire career. There is a definite trade off there but I am assuming the cardinals knew that before they signed him to 80+ million dollars. Everyone in the world knew this wasn’t a good rotation coming into the season maybe they shouldn’t of opted for a better defensive catcher considering they have 22 outfielders/dh.
@desertbull and CJML-
Lol… I was happy to see that they let him walk. My fingers were crossed that he wouldn’t take the QO. Every year he gets off to a pretty good start, the weather gets nice and he really heats up and looks like he’s gonna have his best season yet, then by July he usually has a hamstring injury and misses almost 30 games. When he comes back he never quite returns to form. Every season is groundhogs day with him.
He’s got nice power and a good stroke, especially when he hits the ball up the middle. He plays with a little wild energy which is a pro and con. He plays emotional and that also can get him in trouble. Very endearing to the fans when he’s hitting well and playing with emotion. But I saw enough of his base running blunders going for the extra base too much to start to get sick of him.
I couldn’t have been happier for him to land in STL. And then his comments burning bridges with the Cubs organization… he’s a nice bat for a catcher, but as a LFer/DH, that’s quite a bit of money for what his bat will produce. On the plus side, maybe he stays healthier that way and won’t have the hammy issues, but that remains to be seen…
Desperation move from the Cards. Willson is performing as he always has. His performance is not a surprise. I’m not sure this makes their defense or pitching any better. Stir it up for no reason!
Yep. How about blaming the pitchers for bad pitch location. If a pitcher doesn’t like the call it should be his responsibility to make the choice.
How about you blame the executives who knew they didn’t have an ace going in so, instead of addressing that, they decided to just go with a quantity over quality rotation.
Completely agree with your first point. Contreras is performing exactly as anyone would have expected. This just looks poor roster construction and bad planning.
the other thing is the Cards pitchers are not full of K guys. they mostly pitch to contact. with the shift changes and any degradation in defense… it becomes more noticeable
Question for Cardinals fans: How has he been behind the plate? Is he poor defensively? Bad at calling games? Just curious, as this seems really early to make the change.
Honestly he hasn’t been bad. Lazy at times blocking but doesn’t seem any different then when he was with the cubs. The pitchers just haven’t been executing at all. This seems like a desperate move to try and blame the lack of off-season rotation upgrades on the catcher.
Don’t know what you’ve been watching but he’s been brutal. Catcher’s interferences that take outs off the board, passed balls, can’t block wild pitches, on and on. Horrible defensive catcher. This is Mo’s fault though.
Guess I’ve been watching the same guy who’s been playing against the cards for years. He’s exactly who he has been. Not a bad catcher, not a good one. A guy who makes some great throws then gives up a weak passed ball. He’s not the reason the pitchers can’t pitch though.
Pitching staff’s ERA is 2 points higher with WC behind the plate than with Knizner
Last season with the Cubs it was a 5.27 ERA with Contreras behind the plate and 2.98 with Gomes. That is why they let him walk for just a draft pick. It’s also why no team offered anything for Contreras that was more valuable than that draft pick.
I blew it. The 5.27 is in St Louis. 3.96 last season with Cubs
The Astros offered Urquidy but Crane vetoed it because Dusty didn’t see getting Willson enough playing time with Maldonado as the regular. So, Click traded for Vazquez whom promptly complained about his playing time.
He’s been what has been expected. Despite the hyperbole by CardsnWolves he hasn’t been commiting catcher’s interference multiple times per game or allowing every third pitch to reach the backstop. It was a weird signing when it happened, but he’s been what he’s always been.
Exactly. His game hasn’t changed suddenly this year. He’s the same guy. He’s just not Yadi so don’t expect that level of defense. And “can’t block wild pitches”? Well yea they’re wild pitches for a reason. The problem is the FO did nothing to upgrade the rotation. They were led down the stretch last year by Montgomery and Quintana. Going into this year with mikolas and waino as your best options was a glaring issue.
Brick House Coffee Tables Inc
The more I think about it, the more I interpret it as a challenge to their pitchers. What happens if for the next three weeks the starters’ performance is just as poor? It will be difficult for anyone to blame Contreras then.
This strikes me as “ok fine, now pitch better or else…”
Convert them to catchers and Contreras pitches?
Desperate times, desperate measures!
What no Yadier Molina does to an Mf
They have reason to make changes, but throwing Oneill & Contreras under the bus are not the right changes.
Can the league please switch to full time roboump? I don’t give a rip about the ability of a catcher to frame a pitch. I’d rather them spend their development time focused on footwork, throwing and the mental maturity of managing pitching staffs.
Sooooo… which OFer gets moved first? This move would seem to highlight the need to trade from a crowded OF for a team need. Card experts can interject what their wishlist is, but let’s speculate on the trade bait. TON seems as good as gone, but he’s (probably) not being moved while on the IL. Does Mo listen to offers on Noot-Beer? Maybe, just maybe… Walker is expendable??
Won’t be Noot or Walker. Carlson hasn’t lived up to expectations, but he does play CF. O’Neill is def the most likely. Yepez is also redundant if Contreras is playing OF.
I’ve known your savvy posts long enough to know you aren’t overvalueing anyone, Donnie O… but just what would you want for pre-Arb Yepperz or an expiring TON? The returns won’t be “great” by anyone’s imagination, but perhaps tolerable knowing you cleared room and rolled the dice. Bullpen arm? Potential future SP? Perhaps you’re the best poster to ask, so what does StL need in return?
At this point those guys probably won’t bring anything back that would help the ML club. So the immediate value is, as you mentioned, clearing spots off the roster.
For me personally, I’d be looking for young, CF capable athletes. Pitchers are always nice, but I feel like true centerfielders are harder to find.
Jordan Walker is 1B/3B/DH and nothing else. He can’t do that on STL, he’s gotta go in a challenge trade for a minor star or similar level prospect. Grayson Rodriguez is the perfect pitcher match, but the Orioles don’t match up at 1B/3B/DH either. I dont have all day here but Edward Cabrera for Jordan Walker kinda makes sense for both sides.
Easy YES! for Miami. Easy NO! for St. Louis.
if that is so, in effect saying “Steven Matz is better than Edward Cabrera” is why STL will stay in last place.
Honestly I would have thought it crazy to trade Walker at the beginning of the year but just given how much potential he still has (and NOT as an outfielder) maybe we shop him. I love the kid but we aren’t getting rid of Arenado anyway and I’ve lost a bit of my faith in him as a converted outfielder.
Jordan Walker isn’t getting moved for anything less than one of the elite talents in baseball and that’s also not happening. This isn’t a videogame.
Jordan Walker isnt an elite talent himself (not good defensively) so how about you stop acting like a video game and understand his trade value as a DH is like a regular frontline SP in a 1-1, that is absolutely plenty. You are crazy.
It’s over your head.
The Cardinals miss Yadi and the stick-em he used to have on his chest protector so he could doctor the baseball so the pitchers wouldn’t get caught. Worried about framing with the flip a coin umpiring these days, that’s ridiculous.
If anyone’s confused by this move just go back and look at the catcher’s ERA for the Cubs. Willson had double the ERA of Yan Gomes. Cub front office realized his shortcoming and wisely let him walk while Cards jumped on Dexter Fowler 2.0.
Mrripley—- I truly understand where you are going BUT don’t type stuff that is blatantly false to make yourself look smart…
Contreras and Gomes played together only in 2022.
ERA when Gomes was in the game was 3.72 and total runs given up was 4.27.
ERA when Contreras was in the game was 3.96 and total runs given up was 4.43.
That is NOWHERE near DOUBLE the ERA like you said.
Stats are very easy to find so please don’t make stuff up.
Cubs pitchers had a 2.98 ERA when Gomes was behind the plate.
Scroll down to advanced fielding.
They had a 5.27 ERA with Contreras behind the plate
Again, scroll down to advanced fielding.
I blew it. 5.27 is with St Louis. Last season it was 3.96 with Cubs.
Like I said baseball—-Gomes 3.72 and Contreras 3.96.
Small, yet probably significant in the long run over a season.
Of course pitch calling, framing, etc played a role in the Cubs ultimate decision BUT it’s quite humorous how Cub fans jumped on here and made look like Tyler Houston or PJ Higgins. He was the catcher for 6-7 years!
The ultimate decision came down to money and there was no way they were going to play him long term at upwards of $100M.
If his contract was the same as Gomes or Barnhart, he’d still be in Chicago.
They’re also are blaming Contreras for the Arozarena and Alcántara trades.
Its kind of out of control how many ex-Cards prospects are on other MLB teams right now. Their farm has produced so much talent but its not on this team. Weird.
Zac Gallen was in that trade too. He’s was also a big loss.
Pinning the cardinals embarrassing season on Contreras is simply unfair. The bench can always call the game pitch to pitch… also, he could call the correct pitch in every situation but the pitcher still has to execute… the problem, and I mean the ENTIRE problem, is management. From pitching coach all the way to ownership. STOP BLAMING PLAYERS AND HOLD YOURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE FOR ONCE!
I’m still floored the cubs didn’t trade Contreras last trade deadline. They had no real shot at making the playoffs, any value would have been good value for him. Certainly someone would have traded away market value not overpaid in prospects to get him. Then now, the cardinal handling him, just so odd. The dude is a very meh catcher but he’s overall a good player worth having in the lineup. Freaking cardinals need to trade away their outfield depth for some pitching. Braves have a handful of pitching prospects that may be worthy of trading for one of them outfielders and we kinda sorta have a need in LF. Seem like reasonable partners to make something happen. — now here come the Braves fans acting like Ozuna and Eddie can hold the fort down and that Hillard is gonna maintain his hot start with his 40+% k rate … :/
Exactly, great call. Getting -anything- back for him would have been massively better than having him ride out the season. It’s always the dumbest move, you either re-sign the guy if he’s hitting FA, or you trade him.
@StepCurryh- read my reply to Braves fan. You couldn’t be more wrong from a Cubs perspective.
The return needs to be better than the comp pick – rest of season salary.
@bravesfan- the Cubs had their price point of what they wanted in return. It goes to show how little most the league values his catching skills, and especially for him joining a contending team mid-season and having to learn the pitching staff.
And actually they had a deal in place with the Astros for one of their starters (Jose Urquidy). Dusty and the owner didn’t approve, and the GM ended up parting ways with them, even after winning the World Series. This was all well publicized at season’s end.
So the Cubs did right by just getting the supplemental round draft pick compensation. That extra money is almost more valuable than the pick itself because it allowed them to reach in the draft and have extra money to sign guys who were thought to be unsignable. They managed to spend overslot on LHSP Jackson Ferris out of highschool when he was thought to be unsignable and headed to college.
Also, had they traded him, his signing team wouldn’t have lost a draft pick, so while it probably saved the Cardinals a little money on his contract, it’s great that they lost a draft pick because of this too.
“the Cubs had their price point of what they wanted in return” – this shouldn’t be a real sentence, its horrific front officing, you get you’re offered and youll take it or be doomed to mediocrity forever. F-tier FO.
Lolololololol… sorry you don’t get it
Perfect summary of the decisions the Cubs made and why they made the right choice. It appears it only took 30 games for St Louis to confirm the Cubs decision making.
The right choice would have been to trade Contreras at the deadline last summer (or earlier).
It’s been explained extensively that there wasn’t a market for Contreras. There are a number of stories from the deadline that teams didn’t want to disrupt their staff by bringing Contreras in, like Houston. Then Houston went out and got Vazquez. Marmol’s comments about Contreras not picking up how the organization “does things” (after the offseason, spring training and 33 games) pretty much confirms that Hoyer didn’t have a lot of deadline options. Hoyer took the compensation pick, instead of taking a prospect they didn’t like.
If Contreras does have trade value, I would think the Cardinals would follow your advice and move Contreras for a boatload of prospects.
Yes there was a market for Contreras. They actually had a trade lined up with the Astros for Jose Urquidy but the Astros owner vetoed it. Astros wouldn’t have offered that if there weren’t similar offers out there from other teams. Contreras was the starting catcher for the NL All Star team in 2022. It’s absolutely ludicrous to say there wasn’t a market for him.
He doesn’t have.trade value now. He did last summer.
Exactly, the Astros didn’t make that trade (also because of Dusty) so Contreras didn’t have the value and the Astros don’t know what other offers are in the table.
He was an all star because of his offense. AGAIN, the limited interest was for his ability to manage a staff and call a game.
It’s ludicrous to say the starting catcher from the All-star game in 2022 doesn’t have trade value now. He’s an All-star. The right choice is to trade him now before his value drops
Teams don’t make offers like that if they don’t have to. If the Astros could have beat what other teams were offering without putting Urquidy on the table, they would have.
It’s not ludicrous at all to say Contreras doesn’t have trade value now. No one was willing to offer him more money than the Cardinals last offseason and he hasn’t really done anything to prove the other teams wrong. He has continued to hit well but teams already knew he could hit so that doesn’t really change anything and they are already moving him off the catcher position a month into the first year of his contract. If teams wanted to pay him all that money they wouldn’t trade for him now they would have just outbid the Cardinals for him in the first place.
Has it ever occurred to you that the Cardinals vastly overpaid for Contreras? I mean, is it remotely possible?
And not sure you have a feel for how trades evolve. Houston, didn’t call the Mets and ask, So what are you willing to trade, and then call Seattle and ask, what are you offering for Contreras and so on. The Cubs put out a soft list of what they’re looking for, or the trade team presents a soft list of players they’re willing to offer. The GMs aren’t on a party line listening to all the offers.
I don’t know or care if the Cardinals overpaid for Contreras. The point is the Cubs could have gotten better value than that comp pick by trading Contreras.
No… That is your opinion.
Players who just started in the All Star game get traded for more than one second/third round sandwich pick.
Obviously not a bat first catcher that got over paid in free agency and then relegated to DH in favor of a career minor league C, after 27 games behind the plate.
He started the All Star game last year. Him being overpaid in FA has no bearing on anything I have said.
If you’re playing attention, what’s more telling is what Marmol said after announcing that they brought up a career minor league catcher that is in his FIRST year with St Louis and only played 12 games at AAA.
“This allows for some familiarity behind the plate with our guys, which I think will help, especially in the state that we’re in.
“There are certain things and ways we operate that Willson is still talking to and learning. It’s a difficult thing coming from a different organization and learning all of it.”
Again the guy taking his reps behind the plate is a near 29 year old C that has played 12 games in the Cardinal system.
Being replaced by a career minor league C in his first year in the Cardinal system after 27 games does.
Being an All-star doesn’t address the issues the Cardinals have discovered. The all-star game is an exhibition game. He was there because if his bat.
If the Cubs knew he was so bad defensively why didn’t they trade him huh? HUH? HUH?
Now you got it… We finally got on the same page. They couldn’t trade him for any worth more the the comp pick.
Yes they could have.
How do you know that the Astros knew what other offers were out there? We see teams overpay for players with $ and players constantly.
Part of why the cards paid up was because he plays catcher. Thats where the need is offensively. They are going to have to figure it out because the DH spot is valuable and the best line up, by far, is him catching.
How’s your rotisserie league team doing?
I’m just saying if Kiz is the every day starter we’re going to score less runs. I like him, but I’d rather see Gormon get more AB’s. Honestly anyone on the team. Yepez, Burlson, even Walker back. Those are the guys made for that DH spot. The line up gets longer if he’s able to catch.
“the Cubs had their price point of what they wanted in return.”
Yeah? So did the Rockies on Trevor Story, Jon Gray, CJ Cron and Daniel Bard. So did the Padres on Jhoulys Chacin and Craig Stammen back in 2017. How did that work out for them?
The Cubs absolutely tried to trade him at the deadline. No one was willing to give anything significant so the Cubs stood Pat. Now the Cubs also get compensated for losing him in FA. THANK YOU CARDINALS!
They’d have been compensated more if they traded him.
The Cubs had a deal with Houston. The Astros owner decided to play fantasy and nixed the deal. Now Urquidy gets hurt and he wasn’t all that great before that. So it would of been what it is now- A lose-lose situation. Now will Urquidy be worth more than the comp pick? I guess we’ll find out when we know who he is. But the Cards are stuck paying him for 5 years for an inflated price for a guy who was supposed to be their C. All the Cards fans keep crowing about how great their OF’s are. I don’t see that at all. They keep expecting the Front Office to trade OF’s for good starting P’s which I can promise you isn’t happening, Or at the deadline either. You can trade a good SP or SP talent for 3 players. It doesn’t fly the other way around.
Jose Urquidy > a 2nd/3rd round sandwich pick.
Cubs front office seems to have agreed with that, unfortunately for them, the trade got nixed and it was out of their control.
Front office’s pathetic attempt at shifting the blame from them not doing anything about pitching for the past few off seasons.
The trade market for C last year was Rays, Mariners, Astros, and Mets. The Mets were the only team that didn’t make a trade for a catcher. Sandy was chicken to trade a prospect after Hoyer plucked PCA for Baez the previous year. Mets could have used Contreras as a DH but they got Ruf from the Giants.
Hoyer’s mistake was waiting until the last moment, but there weren’t a lot of options.
Wow, the Cardinals finally turned into a tire fire after decades of massive luck with regards to prospects panning out and injuries. About time!
Sounds like Gary Sanchez in NY. Pitchers wanted him gone. Hesitant to do so because of his bat. Finally traded and out of baseball completely a year later.
I think all the Cardinal pitchers signed a petition, ”we refuse to throw to Contreras”
I feel like the Cards were wrong in their assessment with fitting Conteras in with their pitching staff. He’s always been a good player and has athleticism. Sanchez has the tools but can’t make the adjustments to pitchers since his one excellent season. He also hasn’t developed better catching skills. What seperates the average from good is adaptability.
It’s Willson’s game-calling that is at question.
Flaherty after his last blowup: “Two strike hits, whatever that comes down to. Whatever the hell we’re doing as a staff is pretty bad. Way too many two strike hits today…that’s frustrating, throughout our whole staff — throwing pitches that don’ t make sense.”
Cards have given up more two strike hits and homers than any team in baseball and have a higher batting average against with two strikes than any other team. Half of the runs allowed have come with two strikes.
And’ who’s calling those pitches? Willson Contreras. With the pitch timer limiting a pitcher’s ability to shake off several pitches, his game calling is on display now more than ever.
Contreras was a bad signing, similar to nearly all of MO’s FA signings (aside from those in the Pacific Rim, where we clearly have good scouts).
And this move reeks of desperation.
I seriously doubt Contreras is calling the game, he never did in Chicago, and that’s part of the problem.
Contreras isn’t reading pitchers breaks and hitters swings, then coming up with pitch and location. He’s allowing the analytics team in St Louis to do it all, just as he did in Chicago. Contreras and the staff doesn’t make a “team”, watch Molina or Gomes, catch, they will adjust, they will give a pitcher an aim point, not a target if their pitches are off. “I’m calling a slider, aim here” and the ball breaks to the appropriate location or if a pitch isn’t working at all, they will continue to work it off the plate where there will be no damage.
With all that said, in fairness to Contreras, he wasn’t raised a catcher. He put on pads in the minors and had he coaches thought “hey that guy moves pretty good” and he does! He can block, he has an arm, he can pop, he can has the physical tools but doesn’t speak pitcher. I’m pretty sure Mo and co thought they could teach him pitcher because they didn’t have Molina for so long without knowing how important the pitcher catcher relationship is.
Im not doubting you since i never closely watched him play with CHC. But i’m curious how you know that he wasn’t calling pitches there. Thanks
You could see him looking into the dug out
Hahaha, maybe a Cubs fan, including myself, knew this would be end up being Dexter Fowler, Part 2. I have no personal animosity towards either player, but we knew he was not the type of player you spend that kind of cash on. That’s why the Cubs didn’t resign him. He can’t call a game worth a hoot, and his batting prowess comes and goes. I’m glad he didn’t resign with the Cubs, now Hoyer’s wisdom pays off.
Hoyer’s has no wisdom. If he did he would have traded Contreras at the deadline last summer (or better yet, after the 2019 season).
He did trade him. The Astros owner nixed the deal.. You should pay attention.. The fact that nobody stepped up after that should tell you something. If you’re paying attention that is. Just because you keep saying something repeatedly doesn’t make it a fact.
He started the ASG. They could have beaten a 2nd/3rd round sandwich pick for him easy.
Are you mentally challenged? Does it take you 2 hours to watch 60 minutes? The Cubs weren’t paying him. They were trying to trade him. FOR AWHILE! Nobody wanted him and the Astros tossed that deal in at the last second., How can you even say that the pick wouldn’t be better WHEN THEY HAVEN’T EVEN MADE IT YET. My God. Please get a clue. The Cubs got Jackson Ferris in the 2nd round last year. I’d rather have him than Urquidy and Contreras.
The Cubs got Justin Steele in the 5th round, Keegan Thompson in the 3rd, Hayden Wesneski was a 6th round draft pick.
The leading argument from gorilla boy is “Contreras started the All-Star game” which is moot. The All-Star game is a fan vote, its popularity based most typically on offensive numbers.
Pitchers coming into spring training last season repeatedly said “I cannot wait to throw to Yan Gomes”. Pitchers did not say, “I cannot wait to throw to Contreras”.
The Astros had a deal in place for Contreras, the owner nixed the deal the question is “when” because the Astros dealt for valezquez fairly early if I remember correctly. If it was after Valezquez, then obviously the Astros had no interest in Contreras behind the plate. They were not going to move Maldonado off from the behind the plate anyway.
I thought Contreras had a decent amount of value as a DH/back up catcher. I wouldn’t have been mad at all had the Cubs re-signed him as such but Gomes is a vastly superior catcher to Contreras. I think he is a lock for the Cubs to pick up his option for next year and given Amaya a season of development with Gomes and possibly Barnhart again as the primary two.
Maybe. As good as Amaya is looking( And I admit I said it was unlikely), I still think the Cubs future C is Pablo Aliendo. He’s raking at AA has a good arm but could probably use some of Ross 101 to get him to the promised land. Ballesteros gets the rating but he’s eating himself out of baseball. He makes Panda look like a swimsuit model. Opitz can C but can’t hit. Yet anyway. I’m amazed Amaya looks this good not having caught a game in 3 years. I thought it was a longshot.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought Amaya was considered a “natural” defense first catcher with a plus arm and a bat that showed promise.
The guy has hit some bullets right at defenders this season which is really impressive to me. To get called up from AA ball and to barrel up MLB pitches is impressive and more so given how much time he has missed. What’s also crazy is they said Amayas arm still isn’t 100% and it’s a rocket.
Hey it’s not like I’m not rooting for him. But he’s been kind of brittle. He took a pitch off his throwing elbow the other day and all the breath just left my body, Going here it is. Some guys just aren’t that lucky. Like the Whole White Sox team.
@Uncle Mike I’d challenge you to a battle of wits, but it seems you’re unarmed.
Teams wanted him. If the Astros were willing to offer Jose Urquidy I’m sure there were similar offers out there from other teams.
It is possible that the Cubs hit on that comp pick but in 1,000 simulations the package they could have traded Contreras for provides more surplus value than that pick well over 500 times.
@drasco036 Still a better argument than “Contreras would never leave Chicago because he seems like a sentimental person” or “Backing off their demands ok Contreras would negatively affect what teams offer the Cubs for their future trade chips” or “If Hoyer had caved and taken what he could get for Contreras the Yankees wouldn’t have traded Wesneski for Effross.”
Dear Harambedumba**- As far as the battle of wits goes you can’t even understand one simple fact. Nobody offered even the worth of a 2nd round comp pick or he would of been dealt so as far as I’m concerned the battle of wits is done. You lost. Game over. Duh
Absolutely Hoyer has Wisdom, he’s playing 3rd base.
Oof. Got me there.
Contreas was right when he said that the Cardnals were a class organization and knew how to win. Moving him will make them better. Definitely addition by subtraction.
I for one am glad Mozeliak kept his prosoects and paid Contreras so ATL could get (and extend) Sean Murphy.
Funny, you said I was crazy when I suggested the braves trade Contreras while his value was high to get Murphy!
Never mind, there was another rundmc that happened to be a braves fan, either that or this is your second account.my apologies lol
Are you confusing William for Willson, my guy?
Yadi was pathetic last year – didn’t really want to be there & it showed. Knizner caught about the same number of games as Yadi & did a better job. Contreras has always been considered a decent catcher, so this doesn’t seem to be a demotion as much as “let’s try something different” because nothing else is working. The signing of Contreras was the only way to go as trading partners were asking for way too much. The Cardinals have 15 straight years of being over .500 because they normally don’t do stupid things like trading talented prospects (there have been exceptions).
Yadi was terrible at the plate last year. The defensive stats still had him elite behind the plate. It’s easy enough to verify.
Oh boy, this will fix everything for us!
This is why Mo gets paid the big bucks – those of us in steerage are not capable of that level of insight. Pure genius!
Yikes, 1 month into that contract..
Yikes. All that money for a .240-.260 hitting DH with meh power..
That one’s gonna sting..
Unless there is a big trade in the works, it’s time to fire the coaching staff. This will also take ABs from Gorman. WTF Mo? That’s all I have to say about this bs.
Fire Girsch. MO is already stepping back. Get a new GM now so they can build a coaching staff and start planning the offseason now. This season will not be recovered except by miracle or dark magic of some sort.
Bring on the dark magic.
I ask Jobu to come, take fear from the bats, I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.
Jim Crane’s veto of the Astros trade for Contreras last year won them the World Series.
Knizer has -.1 WAR and Contreras .7 WAR. Are we to believe WAR here or are the Cardinals making the right move? Or is WAR useless, in this situation?
Better stat would be the team ERA with each catcher. If it’s significantly higher with Contreras back there, who gives a damn what their WAR is?
WAR is 100% useless period in my opinion. What if the pitching staff hated working with Contreras? We know from history that pitchers tend to work better with certain catchers, and most of Contreras’ WAR value comes from his offense. I’d say this is 100% the right move to try and shake things up for the Cards..even if it does mean that they significantly overpaid for a DH.
Put a fork in ‘em
I can’t believe they started the 6th with Wainwright. Sure he got some vapor strike calls that he should have seen at least 2 more hitters, but thanks, Good close game today.
They knew when they signed him that he was above average offensively and average defensively as a catcher. They were hoping that he would be able to hold the job for 2-3 years until Herrera came up. So far this year he’s been as advertised. His defense is about league average and his offense is slightly above average for catcher. Moving him to the outfield means that he will be below average defensively and average offensively. Putting Kizener at catcher means average to slightly above average defense and below average to average offense at catcher. Plus, the Cardinals already have a glut of outfielders. This move makes no sense to me.
I wonder if they regret not trading lars nootbar in a deal for Moreno with the jays. Moreno has been pretty sick
Wait a second! Many of the games I have watched the pitchers are calling the pitches they want to throw. Why arent the Cards’ pitchers calling their own game and leaving Contreras out of it if he is so bad?
Because then they couldn’t blame Contreras.
Pitchers have always controlled what they throw by shaking off the catcher. But probably a couple reasons it’s good to have the catcher call the game… People use agents/lawyers to negotiate. Having a level between you and result is often good. Catchers get a better feel how pitches are working. Pitcher should focus on executing the pitch.
Dillion Cease started calling his pitches this year. Can’t say this is a reason things have gone sideways for him, but it’s something I’d look at if I were the White Sox.
Catchers have seen the hitters a lot more, working multiple games in a series. But sitting back there, they see the hitters reaction to pitches better than the pitcher finishing his pitch from 60 feet away.
I heard a pitcher interviewed after going 8 one-hit IP. He recalled his catcher calling 8 curves in a row. Pitcher thought he was crazy, but he kept throwing them, and had an 8 pitch inning. Catcher saw the hitters weren’t tracking the curve, and the pitcher didn’t.
With Gorman, Yepez, and Burleson also less ideal options for defensive jobs, and four of their five starters headed for free agency, I can’t help but wonder if they might swap a bat for an arm.
I can think of a few teams that might match up well with St. Louis.
I have read and watched this site for years and finally decided to jump in. Precisely bc of stuff like this news. Can someone explain to me why the STL fan base loves mo? I find him to be smug and wrong about most contracts. Please…talk me off the ledge. Go Cards.
“Please…talk me off the ledge.”
Jump! We gotcha!
Heh heh heh heh…
Mo’s bad decisions far exceed any good ones he makes. I have been ready for a change for some time and now you can include the manager and pitching coach, as they are way over their head.
I don’t think the STL fan base loves Mo.
At best, he’s made a few good moves and does what Bill DeWitt wants. That’s probably the majority.
The “Fire Mo” crowd is definitely larger than any “Love Mo” fans out there.
The majority is probably that gray area of people who think he’s mainly a front man for DeWitt.
Marmol is a fool
“Good. Gimme my money.”
Wow. Cardinals start the inning with a ghostrunner on 2nd. And go backwards.
Great news for Cardinals fans——you still have the best team…….in the state of Missouri!!!!!!
Anybody actually watch the game?
Did Pop Warner signal Arenado to run into that out?
The problem is mormal or however u wanna spell mommy get another expierance manager in there this isnt working the players dislike him even maybe joe madden would be a good fit hell bring back matheny….
Are the Cards REALLY gonna get swept by the Tigers? The FO can say nobody has given the whole Knizner experiment enough time to produce results, but it is what it is.
I haven’t seen him catch a lot but the games I have seen him in he always seemed jumpy behind the plate. I remember one playoff game I was texting a friend and I said “watch, he’s about to try and pick someone off and throw the ball away” and sure enough he did.
Yadi seemed like a calming influence behind the plate and this guy just seems hyped up.
Again. Haven’t seen him play a lot, so I have a very limited dataset. I’d be curious if anyone who has seen him play more games feels if this is accurate or if I am off base here?
I watched Contreras for years in CHC. Average defensive skills. His bat kept him behind the plate. You would think David Ross would have been the perfect mentor for him, and he might have been, but it didn’t result in any noticeable improvement on Contreras’ part.
I’ve been saying the Cardinals front office is overrated for a while now. Lots of bad trades the past few years, and their “big splash” free agent acquisitions have not worked out very well.
Should have signed Austin Hedges and some pitchers instead of Contreras.
This should 100% be a firable offense for their GM. Committing 5 years and a substantial salary to a guy at a prime defensive position and then saying no more after just a month. They have seen Willson Contreras catch for almost a decade. What has changed so drastically in a month to move him. He is not the best catcher in the league, but he is at least top 15. His bat plays well at catcher, but not in the OF or at DH. Just a really bad decision.
Man I hope these aren’t Cubs fans raggin on Willy like this. Horrible news to hear from me. I don’t care the things he said about the Cubs, we know he’s a competitor and plays heel to the opposition and does it well. I was hoping he’d have a great season 2nd to Yan Gomes but this sucks and I feel for the guy.
So, it took 33 games and 87.5 million over 5 years to see what the Cubs already knew? He’s not a good catcher/game caller. It’s a reason they let him walk.
OJ's White Ford Bronco
Yasmani Grandal Part 2.
Robbin and Stealin
We love you Willson! Thank you for 2016. You’re a great ballplayer.
Behind the plate, you gotta be a poet or a philosopher, not an athlete. Study the batter. Feel what the batter feels.
Figure out what the batter is thinking. Figure out what your pitcher is thinking. Take a deep breath before every pitch behind the plate. Be still. Mix up the pitches. Hard and in, then down and away and slow, etc. That is the basic structure of pitch calling, but each situation has its own nuance.
Pretend you are catching 100 MPH eggs that you don’t want to break. Catch and bring in one motion the pitches towards the center of the body slightly if they out of the strike zone. If they are in the zone just stick em right where they are.
Get to know each and every pitcher personally, get a feel for who they are–especially the ones you’ll be catching a lot.
Start calling Yadi and other great catchers and talk catching. Pick their brains.
“Harness the good energy. Block the bad energy. Harness good, block bad. All things, circular…”
Under the bus you go, Willson!
Say hi to Ty Ty!
Jim Thome is my homie
There should be articles on this site about the Cardinals like the White Sox pretty soon. 14 games under, last place, staff is in shambles, and now this decision.
The Pirates have lost 5 in a row, and only the Cubs gained ground in the division.
Ya gotta love the timing of this announcement, early on a Saturday when the local sports talk radio hosts are off for the weekend. It seems that the Cardinals brass hoped that Knizner would lead the starting pitchers to victory on Saturday and Sunday, and then the local ESPN radio hosts would not be so critical of the Contreras contract blunder on Monday morning. Well, so far the bumblebirds have lost the Saturday game.
Detroit isn’t all that good, either.
I’m old enough to have watched the 1968 World Series. These teams! The last one determined by the two pennant winners, period. And what a crackerjack of a series it was!
Now you know why the Cubs let him go.
The worst part about this entire thing is that firing Marmol isn’t going to change anything unless Mo goes as well. He should be gone, not many GM’s (or GM’s pretending to be “president of baseball organization”) get to hire and fire this many managers. Schildt is gone because he didn’t want to do their dance, and Marmol was only hired in the first place because he’s in a position to take orders on how to manage the club from the front office. A yes man. There is ZERO chance that moving Contreras from catching duties, even temporarily, didn’t come from above the manager.
Fire Marmol but replace him with who? As long as Mo is there, and I see no indication of DeWitt making that change, no serious or established manager is going to want any part of this team.
Vince Ferragamo's Dog
Yadi 4 new manager
And meanwhile his little brother is 4th in the majors in defensive WAR
Right now, the two winningest franchises in MLB history have the same problem (imho). Both teams’ owners seem to be content with the millions upon millions of dollars their team piggy banks are generating. As long as the caCHING continues, the POBO’s/GMs/Grand High Exalted Mystic Rulers will not be bounced out if their comfy corner offices. Until and unless that changes…
I’ve said this for 40+ years… Owners have much more influence on a team’s fortunes than a ‘big/mid/small market does.
Look at the Yankees record and the Cardinals. Why would you compare them? The Yankees have had numerous injuries. Yankees fans are just spoiled brats and can’t even take being a few games above .500. The Cardinal are 10-24.
Read my post again.
Both teams are in last place.
Then read all the posts above mine.
Are all those Cardinals fans spoiled brats too?
You don’t even address what I said. My opening comment EXPLAINS why I compare the two teams. In a complimentary manner, I might add. You come back by calling a fan base ‘spoiled brats ‘.
Knock off the name-calling. It’s juvenile.
The Yankees are a last place team. Cellar dwellers. They’re not going anywhere
As I said…
“Both teams are in last place.”
This is the problem with divisions. Yankees could be contending for top spot in many of the other divisions but because the ALE is so much stronger, they’re last.
The Card will fire the manager by the end of this month.
HOLY MOLY! Sorry I’m late guys
Needs to be DH!!!
Looks like the manager is trying to save his job, probably won’t help though, just buying time
deGrom Texas Ranger
It’s almost like the Marlins’ GM is running the team… except 10x worse. There is no defensive, offensive, or injury-related reason for this. This team makes Chris Young seem like a genius for spending 1.5 million all offseason on the bullpen.
At least y’all don’t have to endure Farhan’s flailing follies and failing
OJ's White Ford Bronco
He’s not the problem.
Marmol panicking because they got exactly the guy they signed?
Madness. Contreras isn’t a gold glover or a legendary game caller but he’s far from the main reason the Cards have been atrocious. This experiment is going to be a total disaster.
Pay that much money for a catcher only to find out he is incapable of catching. Not good.
I have a few thoughts. I think Contreras has an injury; one of those injuries that doesn’t quite deserve a spot on the IL, but one affecting his catching game. Not mentioned in the article is Nolan Gorman, who had been having somewhat of a breakout season at DH. Gorman also has one of those injuries not putting him on the IL but relegating him to pinch hitting–his back is injured. This opens up DH opportunities for Contreras. I don’t quite get the whole outfield thing though.
It is also obvious Contreras needs work on his catching and the team is desperately trying to stop the bleeding. I just hate the thought of giving up on him as catcher so soon considering that contract.
In hindsight, should’ve cardinals given one of nootbar or Donovan plus prospects for Sean Murphy?
The ask was both Donovan and Nootbaar along with a top pitching prospect. I do think Oakland got fleeced after asking way too much. Milwaukee came out very well.
Simon gud peple
Calls to fire Mo are understandable, but you all also need to understand that his role allows him to make bad moves, and gives him a long line of slack that makes it difficult to hang himself with as long as he is running a profitable business.
That being said, this is the most disappointing start to a season in my lifetime. Is it all on Contreras? Does Marmol actually not have any decision making ability or what’s the deal going on there? Did Matt Holliday sense something when he was brought on as a bench coach, but then quickly stepped down before the season even came close to starting? Seems like he might have thought the organization was going the wrong direction without wanting to say that. Maddox too.
Something is going on here.
I think it’s safe to say that Holliday changed up so fast for a reason. Maddux could also see it. And I do believe that Marmol’s decision making ability is minimal, so even though I wasn’t a fan of his hiring, firing him won’t change anything. I mean Terry Francona sticks out as well, before he went to Cleveland, was fairly vocal about wanting to manage the Cardinals until he met with Mo and DeWitt. Schildt was fired after doing a great job because he was vocal about being handcuffed.
Knizner can’t hit. At all. But supposedly he’s a better replacement for Contreras behind the plate. It makes no sense, as that’s going to take the DH spot away from a better hitter (Gorman). There’s a long list of awful Mo decisions, from Mike Leake, Dexter Fowler, etc. He’s on his third manager, and not many decision makers get to hire a fourth.
Stevie Wonder could’ve seen the holes in this pitching staff, and Mo did literally zero (AGAIN) to address it, claiming that this team was good enough in an awful division. It sucks, I didn’t think they would be this bad, but the writing was on the wall. And as long as 3 million people turn up every year (I’m guilty), nothing is going to change.
Nobody could have expected it to be this bad. It shouldn’t be this bad even with our pitching problems.
You would think that DeWitt would be willing to explore alternatives to Mo, but as long as the profit is there I guess he’s doing his job.
I agree regarding Maddox and Holliday. My question now is, when did this begin? When did managers not have the ability to make decisions on their own? Obviously had to come post LaRussa era, but hard to tell when.
Regarding the Contreras contract, I was on here saying how I hoped the Cardinals passed on him, going for Sean Murphy seemed like the best idea, but even if that couldn’t be possible, there were other catchers that could have been a cheaper addition while we await on Herrera. Vazquez comes to mind, who hasn’t had a great start hitting, but does well with his staff.
Ultimately, I thought the contract was better than it could have been. I expected around 100m or slightly over. The fact that they’re trying to use him as a scapegoat at the moment is really worrying. Either he is actually that tremendously awful, or we’re just punting the season away until another change happens. Granted, the reporting says this change is for a couple weeks.
I would expect Marmol and potentially the entire coaching staff to get canned.
I agree. I wanted Vazquez if Murphy couldn’t be acquired. I wonder how much a change in the coaching staff would matter though, considering they would still be handcuffed to the extent that Schildt, Marmol, and even Matheney were. I can’t see anything changing as long as Mo is still employed. And I say that as someone who looks back on an era of great baseball that we have to give Mo his share of credit for. But I really think it’s apparent that DeWitt, who isn’t going anywhere, and Mo ARE the problem.
It’s not that I think a coaching staff change would actually be that large of an impact versus just the natural progression of how things happen. Although, as always, I suspect we can use an upgrade in the hitting department.
DeWitt sees the profit coming in and thinks it’s acceptable. Mo keeps getting extended. You’re probably right that things won’t change with Mo here but Mo is at his best when he also has a capable manager that has freedom to make decisions. Probably why Yadi will never be manager for the cards while Mo is there, cant imagine him going with that, but tbf he probably understands the importance of data as much as anyone else Mo would install.
Contreras is at a 118 OPS+ this season. Right at his career numbers. That plays well as a catcher as a poor defensive LF and a DH, its passable. For $17.5 million per year, it’s a huge overpay. In this case the only credit that you can give the Cardinals FO is that they made the decision quickly when they saw how poorly he was doing at handling a pitching staff.
I know it doesn’t make perfect sense to compare his 2023 OPS+ to others’ career numbers, but just for the sake of ballparking him to recent signings of OF/DHs, Contreras’ 118 is in the same range for OPS+ as Mark Canha (115) and Mitch Haniger (122). Canha is on a 2Y/26.5M deal and Haniger is on a 2/24M deal.
There’s other variables at play in comparing those players like injuries and age, but any way you slice it that contract is brutal if he’s no longer a catcher.
Contreras will only DH.
Anyone who thinks Contreras is the problem with the Cards pitching staff hasn’t really thought this through.
Generally, that statement is followed by “because….”.
Diego Cartaya & another lower level player for Jordan Walker or Nolan Arenado & or Tyler O’Neil or Juan Yepez.
Apparently the new “Cardinal Way” is singling out individual players as scapegoats for their mediocrity…O’Neill first, now Contreras. If the coaching staff has a problem with the way he calls a game, take over the whole operation. I highly doubt most catchers in the MLB are calling every pitch – probably not any of them with all the data we have now.
Sorry about previous comments!
I was suffering effects of Hypotonia, never had it before,
again I apologize…..
Since 2016, his teams are 375-390 in games he played (79.5 win pace) and 188-114 in games he doesn’t play 101-win pace.
This is the most telling stat. Too bad the FO didn’t do a little research before “stealing” the player from their rivals.
No kidding. They didn’t even need to do research. Just watch enough tape of past games. JK, sort of.
(Somewhere in Iowa, Ray Kinsella is getting ready to pitch to Shoeless Joe)
“Wait! Don’t we need a catcher?”
“Not if it’s Willson Contreras, we don’t…”
“Oh, that’s cold!”
The Cardinals have become the laughing stock of the National League because of Tightwad and Billionaire Bill Dewallet’s refusal to let the moths fly out of his wallet to improve the team in past offseasons. It doesn’t matter what they do with Contreras now.
This has zero to do with DeWitt. It’s all Mozaliak, if he wanted to spend more, DeWitt would sign off on it. But why increase payroll? There would be no revenue increase from the signing to generate a positive ROI. As long as they believe 3 million fans fill seats every year and have high TV ratings, Mozaliak has no reason to increase expenses. He get profit share bonuses so increasing payroll with off setting it with increased revenue, is literally taking money out of his own pocket. And the level of player everyone wants him to sign would be a huge affect on his bonuses.
The Cardinals did a poor job spinning this. Nolan Gorman is struggling with a back issue. They’re going to use Contreras as the primary DH while Gorman recovers (only taking a few pinch hit ABs) for a couple of weeks.
They didn’t mention Gorman. They only alluded to Contreras’s terrible game-calling.
If this move becomes “permanent,” it’s a terrible signing for the Cardinals. They should bring up Herrera by the all-star break and use Contreras as the RH/DH and backup catcher. That’s an awful lot of money to blow on a part-time player.
If it’s truly a game management issue, can they not give a third PitchCom device to someone in the dugout and have them make the calls until they feel like Wilson gets it?
Nearly 300 comments and I didn’t see what is likely the real reason that Contreras is being moved to DH.
This move was made because the pitchers as a group went to the FO and said we don’t trust his ability to help us prepare for games, to call a game, to pitch frame, or to block balls in the dirt.
The pitching staff collectively were the impetus for this move.
It will be almost impossible for the Cardinals to move Contreras back to catcher now.
And now it’s all on them. If things don’t improve pitching-wise in the next week or two then we’ll know what the actual issue is. I suspect it’s mediocre pitching combined with mediocre catching.
Mozeliak buried Contreras further with his comments today.
Obviously the Cardinal way is too complex for Contreras, but not the 29-year old minor league catcher in his first season with the Cardinals.
Mozeliak is apparently not too intelligent with how this whole situation was handled.
If that’s the case, this has become a brutal signing for the Cardinals. Can’t imagine them getting anything of value in trade for Contreras. Ooof!
BaseballisLife – actually I said this way up at the top.
Sorry. I missed it the first time through. You did say that.
Which is ridiculous considering pitchers have the ability to shake off a catcher. Contreras not blocking balls in the dirt or not framing pitches isn’t causing this AAA pitching staff to continuously give up 2 strike home runs. People like Flaherty should take a long hard look in the mirror before showing up teammates on the field or running to the front office.
It’s like all the sudden everyone is cognitively impaired. This is among, if not the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen the Cardinals do. Obviously being scapegoated by the starting staff. Everyone and their brother predicted they’d be bad. Embarrassing to surrender like this. Clubhouse has to be toxic as can be.
Idiocracy got the timing wrong only.
I haven’t seen much of Contreras, but I remember a whole lot of Cubs fans complaining about his defense. Turns out they could be right,
But what’s amazing is that the Cards saw this guy almost once a week on average, spent a ton of money on him, and they are switching 6 weeks into the season? I applaud them owning up to their mistakes, but that’s a heck of an error in judgement.
I think when people see “defense” as his issue, they immediately think to catching/framing, blocking ball and throwing out runners. Most people in this thread got it mixed up and keep talking about his “defense” being decent. “What’s his framing metric”, “What’s his pop time?”. Contreras’ defense is fine, it is calling a game, managing the pitcher throughout the game, knowing the hitters, and seeing how they are attacking the pitcher. Preparing for the game. Having a feel for the game. Those are his issues.
He’s a Padre at the deadline.
I could totally see Preller trying to pull off some mega trade for him and Goldschmidt. Tons of money involved in that and no idea what that return would look like but SD is aggressive enough to try.
Why would the Padres or any other team give up anything of value for a guy getting paid $17.5 million that the Cardinals just said is not good enough to catch for them.
Fernando Ringworm Jr.
And when they have Luis Campusano. Who I demand them to either trade or use as their 1st string catcher once he comes off the IL by the way.
Contreras has a full no-trade provision through 2026.
The signs were all there for this chaos. I ignored it. What changed over the off season that caused the mass exodus of the coaching staff? Now we are seeing what Albert, Maddox, and Holliday knew was coming. I won’t include Schumaker since he left for a nice promotion.
Whoever ordered the changes needs to go. They are now jerking the players around for their own failures. Don’t forget that Carlson was assured he was the centerfielder of the future until he didn’t even get a chance for it in spring training. What player is going to trust anything coming out of their mouths at this point? This is an embarrasing and toxic dumpster fire.
Never thought I’d ever seen this. I think h3ll may be freezing over lol. For me it all started when Stanton publicly announced to be Wouldn’t wave his no trade clause to come to Saint Louis after they tried laying out the red carpet for him. That’s when the whispers starting coming out about not wanting to come to Saint Louis because of how it’s run. As much as Mo will deny it, it’s very clear he did what TLR told him too and he’s been slowly ruining the team since he finally got to be in charge.
Whatever they do personnel-wise, I have still not had this question satisfactorily answered: Why the heck did they fire Shildt? In his three full seasons, the team made the postseason each year, including an NLCS appearance, he posted a .559 W-L %, and he won a Manager of the Year award. (https://www.baseball-reference.com/managers/shildmi99.shtml)
What exactly did he do wrong? Not win a World Series fast enough???
From what I have read, he would not be a “yesman” for Mozeliak. Plus he had an extreme foul mouth, with Goldschmidt for example speaking at least once (maybe twice) at the fellowship of Christian Athletes convention, so imo it made several players uncomfortable
He didnt get fired. He essentially quit. He game Mozaliak an ultimatum between him managing his way with out MO’s meddling or him not managing anymore. And so it ended.
And its been all downhill since then.
Not his fault the staff is trash.
More backtracking and cover up. Mo is such a natural born politician. That’s not a compliment.
He’s just reacting to the backlash from an understandably angry fan base who know the real problem is Marmol. Mo is protecting his guy which will only get harder as long as the losing continues. Only succeeding at making himself look foolish
The real problem is DeWitt. Mo’s job is to find scapegoats.
Loser St. Louis
I guess this is what happens when you have the same Catcher for 2 decades; you expect the next guy to be the same, which is both unfair and unrealistic.
Contreras is never going to be the game calling/defensive Catcher Molina was so he becomes a rather expensive DH for the offense he provides
Yadi = overrated y’all be d riding him LOL
Weaker St. Louis should have traded for Montas and Murphy at the deadline last year instead of the joker moves they actually made
The Cards should have had their Molina replacement in place at the start of last year for the transition. That would have made the most sense.
This should really get fun if Contreras goes public with his side of the story.
Good idea – stir the pot!
We need the catcher to solve our pitching problems. That’s really what he’s saying, and if Mo/Marmol really believe that, they’re in bigger trouble than any of us thought.
Should bring Yadi in as a consultant to help Wilson out. Many reports out there about his game calling skills. IMHO I see Marmol gone after this year. On occasion, dude has pouted and made excuses on why things are where they are. You have Goldy and Arenando folks. Tell Waino he can pitch in the Braves rotation
Yadi should be brought in as the pitching coach. He can call the game from the bench.
But again, why would Yadi want the job? He is NOT a yes-man. As long as Mo is in charge, they are never going to get independent thinking baseball people.
That’s the truth. They’ll Just keep swapping out people from within the organization willing to their soul to get a shot at manager seat.
Not his fault the staff is hot garbage.
I never thought I would see the day that the Cardinals were a worse train wreck than the Angels.
Wilmer the Thrillmer
This is the second starting position player the Cardinals have thrown under the bus this season (Tyler O’Neil being the other). Interesting culture Mozeliak and Marmol are creating. You’d think Mozeliak has a pretty long rope after trading for Arenado and Goldschmidt but in my opinion they handled the O’Neil situation poorly and they’re not off to a good start here by basically inferring that Contreras is a terrible catcher after just handing him 87.5 mil.
What a poorly-handled cluster-cluck.
Both GM and manager heads should roll.
This one belongs to the Reds
Well, I have always called Contreras a DH waiting to happen like I have Winker and several others.
Looks like the Cards now agree. But that’s a ton of green salad for a DH.
Nothing wrong with Contreras as full-time catcher in STL. Pitching is bad so attempt to blame it on the catcher, wrong answer. Marmol is the #1 issue in STL due to his immaturity, inexperience, highly unprofessional criticism of several players, poor roster construction and utilization as well as pathetic in-game strategy decisions.
Wrong! DeWitt is the #1 issue. He is milking the cow. Only putting enough into it to keep the milk flowing.
Hire me as your President of Baseball Operations.
Cardinals should have signed Christian Vazquez instead of trying to steal one from the Cubs. There is a reason the Cubs did not try to re-sign Contreras and i guess the Cardinals are starting to figure that out
This is all BS. Pitchers change teams at the deadline every year. Multiple catchers are used by every team due to off days and injuries. They can say all they want to say in public but the fans aren’t stupid—there is more to this story.
“this is all Willson’s fault.” Got it.
All joking aside, I’ve always appreciated the Guardians’ approach of defense-first catchers.
I listened to an Adam Wainwright interview a few years ago and he said veteran pitchers pretty much call their own game to quote “end of the day, you’re the one out there throwing the pitch and if you don’t believe in what your SUGGESTED to throw too have to live with the repercussions of not what you believe to be your best offering” so the are pitchers are probably ambivalent to most pitch calls, but they still call their own games. All the Cardinals starters are veterans, so throwing Contreras under the bus is simply that for the sake of calling out someone and he’s the least tenured on the team.
Next move is to replace Marmol, get a manager who can manage
John Mozeliak, “What I don’t want to have happen is a finger-point, this is all Willson’s fault. It’s not. “
Everyone knows its not his fault, IT’S YOUR FAULT!
This loser has been finding people to take the fall for him since Jocketty. This is Bill DeWitt’s fault. Its not the player’s faults. They are what they are.
I didn’t have time to see if this was mentioned above, but the lack of pulling off the trade for Murphy despite the extremely high talent price tag has hurt the club in multiple ways. It tied STL to 17.5 mil per for 5 years to an offensive first catcher for a team that has worked completely opposite of that since Ted Simmons last wore the uniform. If they had pulled off the deal they could have extended Murphy like Atlanta did for less money (12.2 mil/yr) and used the rest on a decent relief option. The bigger advantage of the trade would have been to clear the log jam in the outfield of talent. I like all of the outfielders and the cardinals do as well obviously, but the way they have been used does not give a guy a chance to work through a slump or to really even get in a groove. Donovan would have been the biggest loss, but we have a future SS waiting for a late season call up and we have a relatively big contract yet this year at SS that they won’t just eat and Edman can play about anywhere. I get that the FO did not want to look bad when the talent shipped out from STL looks like a star on another team, but it would not be the first time recently that an STL outfielder scuffles in STL then stars elsewhere. This is not a Wilson Contreras problem. This was a FO issue, and I am very very slow to be critical of that side of the franchise. due to the success they have had putting teams together and acquiring Goldie and Arenado.
It’s not often that us Cubs fans can laugh at the Cardinals. I’ll take it!
Cardinals were spoiled by having such a terrific catcher for nearly two decades. I think St. Louis should have been on the Sean Murphy sweepstakes, he would have adopted the Cardinals’s catching demands more easily and they did have a surplus of outfielders that could have been used as trade chips, but that’s just my two cents on what could have been.
Mozeliak’s the one who needs to be Shifted!!
Shifted right the Front Door!!