The St. Louis Cardinals have decided to shake things up after losing eight out of the last 10 games. The team decided to move their All-Star catcher Wilson Contreras to a designated hitter role and have Andrew Knizner serve as their primary backstop.
The decision comes as a surprise, considering that the Cardinals made a big investment in Contreras to play the catcher position. Contreras signed a five-year, $87.5 million contract in the offseason, but it doesn’t look like money well spent for the organization, at least not for now.
According to reports, the Cardinals hope the switch from Contreras to Knizner might improve the team’s underperforming rotation and also deal with struggles behind the plate. It is unclear if the change is a short-term fix or part of the team’s long-term plans.
Initially, the Cardinals wanted Contreras to serve as DH and play in the outfield. However, those plans recently changed after conversations with the player, according to the team’s president of baseball operations, John Mozeliak.
“We won’t have him in the outfield,” Mozeliak told The Athletic. “I know that came out yesterday, but after talking with him, it’s basically going to be more in the DH role right now. And there’s light at the end of the tunnel to get back behind the plate.”
Contreras himself isn’t happy about losing his job but said that he respects the team’s decision.
“It’s tough, but I’m an employee,” said Contreras after learning about the switch. “I know my primary position is catching, but if they want me to DH more, I can do nothing about it except by being the best hitter I can be.”