On Sunday, Alberto Rosario started at catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. This happens every so often, though it happens less often for the Cardinals than its equivalent action happens elsewhere.
Yadier Molina has always been one of the most durable catchers in baseball. Catcher usage, to a degree, forms a big circle of logic—Molina is very good and very durable, and thus the Cardinals don’t place a high priority on a high-quality backup since he would not play very often, but then if Molina struggles or gets injured, the Cardinals do not have much as far as options for the team’s backstop when Molina does get hurt or declines.
Rosario, to my fairly unrefined eye, looks like a fairly marginal option. He has fielded well—not peak Molina, but there’s only half a dozen catchers in baseball history who belong in that tier—but his offense has been less than ideal.
At some point, the Cardinals will need a higher-end backup catcher. They had hoped Brayan Pena would be that player in 2016, but he has been limited by injuries. Eric Fryer was briefly very good this season before being designated for assignment—his performance with the Pittsburgh Pirates seems to validate that decision. Perhaps Carson Kelly, currently in the minors and frequently mentioned as a potential long-term replacement for Molina, can be it. Perhaps it will require a dip into free agency.
I was curious, however, at the most prolific non-Molina catchers by innings caught since 2005, when Yadier Molina took over the reigns of everyday starting catcher from Mike Matheny. Here’s the list, featuring some obvious names and some fellows you probably forgot were even on the Cardinals.
- Tony Cruz, 2011-2015
- Jason LaRue, 2008-2010
- Gary Bennett, 2006-2007
- Einar Diaz, 2005
- Gerald Laird, 2011
- Kelly Stinnett, 2007
- Mike Mahoney, 2005
- A.J. Pierzynski, 2014
- Matt Pagnozzi, 2009-2010
- Eric Fryer, 2016
- Rob Johnson, 2013
I know eleven is a strange point at which to cut off the list, but Rob Johnson was too good to resist, as he made a pitching appearance, and I still can only picture the former Buffalo Bills quarterback when I hear the name.
Anyway, hopefully this was a worthwhile distraction from the regrettable reality of this weekend. But if for some reason you do want to relive the 8/27-8/28 Cardinals experience, here it is.
Arizona Fall League
Ben Markham looked at which Cardinals prospects could play in the Arizona Fall League this offseason. His list is a mix of fairly famous high-end prospects and less famous guys who nevertheless are intriguing options for the Cardinals.
Prospect seasons in review
The red baron looked back at his top prospects from before the season and analyzed the seasons had by said players. Some were great, some were less great, and some were traded for Zach Duke.
The Oakland Athletics
Alex Reyes made his first career MLB start on Saturday and pitched well, but because sports are bad, the Cardinals lost 3-2. WyoCardsFan wrote the recap. Things were quite bad on Sunday too, and it was recapped by IHeartBoog.
Today, the Cardinals will start playing the Milwaukee Brewers. And, like, I know they should have shut down the A’s, but they should really super-consider shutting down the Brewers.