You all know him, and you all love him. Yadier Molina is one of the best things to happen to the St. Louis Cardinals franchise, but he is really struggling as of late.
In the sea of red at baseball heaven inside Busch Stadium, there are countless fans rocking #4 on their back. He will be a Cardinals legend forever, but let’s take a look at his 2022 season thus far.
Yadier Molina is back from his temporary trip back home to support his basketball team in Puerto Rico, and a lot of fans have not been pleased with his game. I think they are overreacting, but Cardinals Twitter is not happy.
Yadier Molina is 2022
The defense is still there for Yadi, but let’s face it, the offense is lacking. He is typically batting eighth in the lineup and just hasn’t been the spark in the back of the order like fans would hope from the veteran.
He has only played in 54 games in 2022; Yadier Molina has missed well over half of the season. In 187 at-bats, he has a .214 batting average, .234 on-base percentage, and .273 slugging percentage.
One of the biggest flaws in his game, as he continues to age, is that he struggles to hit the ball hard. When videos pop up of players like O’Neill Cruz breaking the exit velo record on Statcast, and then you watch Yadier Molina take an at-bat, you can see a big difference.
Yadier Molina is typically known for going deep into counts, but he only has four walks this season. To go with that, that clutch gene of his has not been here as he only has 12 RBIs. Yadier Molina is becoming a liability on the offensive end with a 0.0 WAR.
When the count is 1-2 or 2-2, Yadier Molina is batting well under .150 on the season. With usually a good contact hitter batting ninth in the lineup, you need Molina to get those numbers up.
The value of Yadier Molina in the clubhouse is priceless. His knowledge of the game and the way the young guys look up to him helps the chemistry of this Cardinals team. Just like I was with Paul DeJong, I support St. Louis players through their offensive struggles and know they will bounce back. It is important to acknowledge his season and hope he heats up as we make a run to October, but he won’t be able to play here in the lineup much longer.
Who Will Replace Yadier Molina in 2023?
One of the biggest question marks (assuming Yadier Molina retires) is who will replace him in 2023? Will it be a player within the organization? Will we make a big splash in the trade market? Will we sign a top free agent to take his spot?
These are important questions that need to be answered, but not for a few months. I like Andrew Knizner, but do not think he is the guy. He has better numbers than Molina in almost every offensive category this season, but so do most catchers in the league.
I do not think Ivan Herrera is quite ready for the big stage yet, either. At 22 years of age, he has a lot more time to develop in the farm.
The offseason plan has to be to sign Willson Contreras. He may spell his name weird, and he may have played with our biggest rivals, but he is one of the most electric players in the big leagues and will keep this Cardinals team competing for years down the road.
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