MLB Rumors: Cardinals could make dramatic changes to catcher room for next year
Speaking of another team facing a dramatic rebuild, the St. Louis Cardinals are expected to make decisive changes, especially in their starting rotation this winter. Elsewhere on the roster, the catcher position could get a major overhaul, too.
Starting catcher Willson Contreras dazzled in his first year with the Cards, proving his value on both offense and defense after a seven-year stint in Chicago. Behind Contreras, however, Andrew Knizner and Iván Herrera are two names that could be competing for a spot in 2024.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold said of Knizner and Herrera's future, "Their overlapping careers meant competition between the Cardinals’ current catchers, Knizner and Herrera, for playing time would be inevitable. Barring a trade, that contest is developing. With Contreras on the injured list, the remaining games are theirs to split. One of the most compelling competitions of spring has a preview during this fall."
The rest of the 2023 season could effectively determine which catcher stays and which catcher goes. Contreras will likely retain his starting spot for next season, but the vacant backup role could go to either the 28-year-old Knizner or 23-year-old Herrera -- but not both, Goold suggests.
With six games to go in the regular season, the backup catcher battle for 2024 is already underway. The winner gets to stay in St. Louis, and the loser gets shopped for compensation that could help the Cards shore up other parts of the roster.