Wilson Contreras has quickly become a speedy learner. Despite being demoted after the free agency deadline, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol has decided that Contreras is ready to resume his role as a regular catcher. MLB.com reports that Marmol stated Contreras has spent the past week getting more in sync with the team’s offensive hitter game plan, prompting his return as a catcher. He will catch starter Jack Flaherty against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.
Contreras’ demotion was a bizarre decision, as he was signed for a five-year, $87.5 million deal as a free agent last offseason to replace longtime catcher Yadier Molina. While Molina is known for his excellent defensive skills and handling of the pitching staff, Contreras is a power hitter who was not known for his behind-the-scenes work during his time with the Cubs. The Cardinals responded to their poor start by playing Contreras as a full-time designated hitter, claiming he had a lot to learn about the pitching staff.
However, it seems that Contreras has learned quickly and is now back as catcher. The Cardinals’ decision to demote him may have masked the uncomfortable truth that their aging pitching staff is simply not good. Despite this, the team has improved slightly, going 4-2 in their last six games while conceding an average of 5.5 points, better than their previous 4.9 average in the previous 33 games. It remains to be seen if Contreras’ return as catcher will have a significant impact on the team’s overall performance.