The St. Louis Cardinals' season has been a trainwreck in every aspect. After a strong offseason, they entered the 2023 MLB campaign with lofty expectations, only to be last in the National League Central. One of their prized acquisitions was catcher Willson Contreras, and even he has gotten off to a shaky start.
Lately, the Cardinals made the surprising decision not to have Contreras behind the plate as much, instead putting him as the designated hitter and even in the outfield. Well, the true reason seems to be because the pitchers wanted the change, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
‘The reason for the St. Louis Cardinals’ decision to strip Willson Contreras from his catching duties just five weeks into his five-year, $87.5 million free-agent contract, a high-ranking Cardinals official told USA TODAY Sports, was quite simple:
The starting pitchers told management they simply no longer wanted to pitch to him, at least not this season, after getting off to their dreadful start, producing an ugly 5.40 ERA.'
The Cardinals pitchers reportedly admitted they'd didn't want to pitch to him, which prompted Oli Marmol to make the move and use other options. Whether it's a coincidence or not, the Cardinals have won six of the last seven games entering Monday, so clearly something has changed in St. Louis.
It is worth noting that Contreras will be behind the dish catching Jack Flaherty on Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers, so it will be interesting to see how that game goes.
Nonetheless, it's a concerning time in St. Louis, and the fans and organization are hoping their prized free-agent catcher can turn things around.