When Yadier Molina announced he would retire at the end of the 2022 season, the Cardinals knew that finding a catcher would be their top priority.
After all, the Andrew Knizner experiment hasn’t exactly panned out the way the team had hoped it would. Especially on the offensive side. And with the team knowing the free agent market of catchers was going to be big this season, they knew they had to make a big move.
And it looks like they did just that.
Sources have told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that All-Star catcher Willson Contreras is signing with the St. Louis Cardinals on a 5-year deal worth $87.5 million.
In 2022, Contreras slashed .243/.349/.466 with 22 HR & 55 RBI. He also compiled a 128 OPS+ in 113 games last season for Chicago, and earned his 3rd career All-Star nomination in his walk year.Contreras was also the only free agent catcher with draft pick compensation attached to him after the Cubs gave him a qualifying offer, yet this didn’t keep the Cardinals from pursuing him.
That said, Contreras only played 72 of his 113 games last season behind the plate (while being the DH in the other 39), but one could also argue that in doing so prevented the wear & tear of catching 162 while still allowing his bat to be in the lineup, a welcoming addition whichever way.
Stay tuned to Interstate 70 Sports Media for more updates.