The latest out of the Cardinals’ camp…
- Yadier Molina intends to finish his career as a Cardinal, though the longtime catcher won’t insist on a starting role throughout the life of a potential new contract with St. Louis. According to The Athletic’s Mark Saxon (subscription required), Molina “has informed club officials he would be willing to take a reduced role in the second season of an extension.” This would represent the 2022 campaign, as Molina is entering the final year of his current contract. Given that Molina will be 39 years old on Opening Day 2022, moving into a part-time or backup role at that late stage of his career isn’t really a surprise, aside from the fact that Molina has always been such a workhorse behind the plate. Molina has the seventh-most games played (1947) as a catcher in baseball history, and with three more seasons, could potentially pass Carlton Fisk (2226) for second on the all-time list. Andrew Knizner and Ivan Herrera are the two top young catchers in the Cards’ farm system, with Saxon noting that Knizner (who has already cracked the big leagues and would be 27 on Opening Day 2022) could still potentially become a trade chip if St. Louis feels Herrera is the better bet as Molina’s heir apparent.
- The Cardinals have been working to add more left-handed pitching to their roster, with GM Michael Girsch telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold that “when we had the opportunity to make transactions, we sided slightly to the left if we could.” Some of the southpaws acquired in big and small moves over the last two years include Andrew Miller, Kwang-Hyun Kim, Genesis Cabrera, Tyler Webb, Matthew Liberatore, Rob Kaminsky, and Ricardo Sanchez, and several of those names are in the mix to play bigger roles for the Cards in 2020. Beyond the need for greater balance between lefty and righty pitching, there is also a specific strategic element at play, given all of the big left-handed bats in the NL Central.
- Matt Carpenter missed Wednesday’s Spring Training game with what he described as a “super minor” back injury, MLB.com’s Anne Rogers writes. The back tightness wouldn’t have prevented Carpenter from playing in a regular season game, though perhaps even the fact that he reported the issue is indicative of how Carpenter is approaching his health and conditioning as he tries to rebound from a rough 2019 season. “Today would’ve been a great example of not saying anything, going out and played, and something happening….I think that is going to be big for me going forward, just being open to not push through stuff that can set me back for a month, and just say, ‘Hey, today I don’t feel as good,’ and it’s two days instead of two months,” Carpenter said.