The St. Louis Cardinals are in rather uncharted territory for themselves.
One of the National League’s elite teams for the better part of the past two decades, the Cardinals are off to one of the worst starts in baseball this season and things seem to keep getting worse at every turn.
Of late, they have already had to move highly-touted free agent acquisition Wilson Contreras away from catcher for the time being, to primarily play him in the outfield or as the team’s designated hitter. That report comes via the Athletic’s Katie Woo.
It is a stunning move just a month into the season, especially after the Cardinals signed Contreras to a five-year, $87.5 million contract in free agency this past winter.
The move comes as the Cardinals — and especially their pitching staff — have been struggling early in the season.
Andrew Knizner is expected to take over the primary catching duties.
St. Louis’ pitching staff enters play on Saturday with a 4.71 ERA, placing them 21st in all of Major League Baseball.
The Cardinals’ 10-23 record not only places them in last place in the National League Central, but also gives them the worst record in the entire National League. The Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals are the only two teams in baseball with a worse record overall.
Contreras is still hitting at a solid level, owning a .781 OPS going into the weekend, but his value certainly takes a hit if that offense is coming from a corner outfield spot or as the team’s designated hitter. It also greatly reduces the Cardinals’ roster flexibility and is not at all what they thought they would be paying for.
The season is still very young and there is still time for them to turn things around, but this start could be a lot to dig out of. The Cardinals won 93 games a year ago. They would need to go 83-46 the rest of the way just to match that number this season.