The Cardinals announced the following transactions in advance of tonight’s game against the Tigers:
8/24/21: Optioned OF Austin Dean to AAA Memphis. Activated OF Dylan Carlson from the 10-day IL. Also announced that C Yadier Molina has signed a 1-year, $10 million extension for 2022.
This one is going to be short. First things first. Carlson was only gone for the minimum time, and is back in the lineup tonight in right field, but wrist injuries for hitters make me nervous. Enough said about him. I briefly covered Dean’s 2021 saga in an earlier transaction article. In the six games the played since Dean’s August 17th recall, Dean got no starts, even in the two games in which the Cards faced a lefty starter. Shildt instead stuck with the hot hand, Lars Nootbaar, a player who will now almost certainly not have his 2021 minor league option burned after all. Dean pinch hit four times, with a single, a walk and two strikeouts. The problem with Dean being gone is that the club has basically no power threat off the bench from the right side of the plate.
I’m not going to take too deep a dive into Molina’s extension. I’m sure the writers with regularly scheduled articles will have more to say about the economics and the desirability of the move. We’ve got a game to get to, and I haven’t had time to fully flesh my feelings out on the subject. My initial thoughts are that I don’t have a super-strong objection to the move. We all know that Yadi isn’t what he was, but I also don’t think he’s been as bad, based on the defensive metrics, as some people think he has been. The move certainly reflects a feeling that Andrew Knizner, who actually has a minor league option remaining, is not the heir apparent. With Ivan Herrera at least a year away and not too many appealing free agent starting catching options that could probably be had on a reasonable deal for one year, Yadi fills the gap.
What I’m not looking forward to is having the same “Groundhog Day” type conversations about Molina’s playing time and the backup catcher position that we always seem to have. Nobody wants to be the backup catcher for the Cardinals because the backup never plays. So we either rely on someone in the system who isn’t very good defensively or we get someone literally off the scrap heap that no one else wants. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the club to either sign a decent backup catcher or to limit Molina’s starts so that he can get proper rest and the backup can actually perform competently.
With Molina extended for what John Mozeliak described in his press release as a “final season,” it’s almost inevitable that we’ll shortly read another release describing a similar deal for Adam Wainwright. How much do you want to bet we’ll be having the same discussion about a possible 2023 for those players right about this time in 2022?
Knizner, Carpenter, Sosa, Rondon, Nootbaar