It’s no secret that the St. Louis Cardinals are targeting an everyday catcher this offseason, whether via free agency or a trade. And it seems like the stars are aligning for a potential partnership between Willson Contreras and the Cardinals as St. Louis tries to fill the void Yadier Molina left when he retired.
Contreras is arguably the top catching option in the free agent market. In 2022, the Cubs’ backstop tallied 22 home runs and 55 runs batted in on a solid .243/.349/.466, providing elite offensive production at a premium defensive position. However, there is always considerable uncertainty in free agency. Thus, the Cardinals have a contingency plan prepared just in case their pursuit of Willson Contreras falls through.
Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Cardinals could perhaps look towards the direction of Christian Vazquez as a possible alternative. Nonetheless, the Cardinals will have plenty of opposition for Vazquez’ services.
Christian Vazquez is nowhere near the hitter Willson Contreras is. Vazquez hit for a .714 OPS, solid enough for a catcher, but not even close to Contreras’ power production. However, Vazquez is the exponentially better defender, which should make him an appealing option nonetheless as the Cardinals try to approximate Yadier Molina’s impact.
Moreover, according to The Athletic’s Katie Woo, the Cardinals may not find Contreras’ less-than-stellar defense appealing. Thus, it remains to be seen which direction the Cardinals take. One thing’s for sure, with Andrew Knizner and Ivan Herrera atop the Cardinals’ catcher depth chart, acquiring an upgrade only seems like a matter of time, whether that be Willson Contreras or Christian Vazquez.