The St. Louis Cardinals will place veteran catcher Willson Contreras on the injured list with tendonitis in his left wrist, manager Oli Marmol told reporters Thursday. Contreras, who exited Wednesday's contest in the seventh inning, will miss the remaining week-plus of the regular season. In other words, this closes the book on his first year as a member of the Cardinals.
Contreras, 31, signed a five-year pact worth nearly $90 million with the Cardinals last December to succeed franchise legend Yadier Molina. Perhaps predictably, given Molina's legacy, there were some bumps along the way. Indeed, Contreras was relieved of his starting catcher duties in early May after the pitching staff took exception with his game-calling choices. At the time, the underperforming Cardinals suggested they would get him work in the outfield.
That plan never materialized, however, and Contreras was reinstalled behind the plate just over a week later, on May 15. He'll finish the season having made 97 appearances at catcher -- or, 25 more than he made in 2022 as a member of the Chicago Cubs. (To be fair, he appeared in 12 more games overall in 2023.)
Clearly the Cardinals became more comfortable with Contreras' defense as the year progressed, but the quantifiable aspects of his game still graded as below average. He ranked ninth percentile in framing, as well as the 34th percentile in blocking. He did rank in the 87th percentile in caught stealing rate.
Contreras also continued to produce offensively at well-above-average levels. He hit .264/.358/.467 (125 OPS+) with 20 home runs and 67 RBI. Those marks were right in line with how he performed in 2022, when he made his third career All-Star Game appearance.
Contreras can only hope that his second season with the Cardinals is smoother than his first -- and, perhaps on a related note, that the team is more successful.