The Cardinals have found Yadir Molina’s heir, locking up a top free-agent receiver for the next five years, and in St. Louis. Busch Stadium isn’t the best place to hit the ball, but it’s not on the other end of Wrigley Field either. If Contreras had played every game there, a source says he would have hit 19 home runs last season, not the 22 he hit, but of course, he wouldn’t have played every game there as a match. At the same time, he’s leaving the 22nd-ranked lineup for a No. 5-ranked lineup that could see a boost in runs and RBIs.
Some may point to Contreras’186 batting average since July 1st (he missed most of September with a sprained ankle) as cause for concern, but as typical inconsistency from an up-and-down player. He got a scorching start, and his final numbers were up to career standards. The catcher has gone so deep that Contreras is no longer an automatic top-five option at the position. Still, he continues to perform at an All-Star level even as he enters his 30s, which is likely what the Cardinals do.