Cardinals fans aren’t used to the kind of clubhouse conflict that’s taken place over the past week; and that’s made the Yadier Molina-Mike Matheny mini-feud both frustrating and somewhat compelling.
Compelling because it’s been between the manager and face of the franchise, but also because of what started the whole thing. The eventual disagreement’s seed was planted back in 2012 when the Cardinals selected Carson Kelly 86th overall in that year’s amateur draft.
No one knew what was coming then because the Birds drafted Kelly as a third baseman only to have him switch to catcher a year later. This turned out a smart move with the 23-year-old now being baseball’s No. 1 catching prospect, right?
Yes and no; because we now find ourselves in the present conundrum.
Which maybe isn’t such a present conundrum judging by Yadi’s taking it to the Brewers Wednesday, but it’s going to become more and more one down the road according to our Cards insider Jen Langosch.
“I think this is going to be a fascinating thing to watch…not just this year, but the next couple years,” Jen recently told Kevin Wheeler. “How do you make sure Carson Kelly doesn’t become stale on your bench? How do you make sure that you keep the veteran Yadi Molina content? How do you kind of maneuver through all of this?”
Langosch prefaced the above comment by announcing she saw Matheny, Molina and Kelly all working together early before Thursday’s Milwaukee rubber match…Just three catchers going about their business. This is good to hear if you were concerned with any clubhouse aftershocks from Molina’s recent Instagram activity.
“Right now nothing is changing in terms of playing time. The bulk will continue to go to Yadi,” Langosch added. “As I mentioned Carson Kelly out there early today getting work in…That’s going to be imperative for him if he does sit on the bench; to be able to do a little bit more pregame and use the instruction in that time to his benefit.”
Going off the original reasoning behind #TiredGate, this situation isn’t going anywhere anytime soon barring any unforeseen moves or circumstances. Being a top prospect at his position, Kelly needs to hone his craft and the best way to do so is good old fashioned MLB playing time. The problem is, the guy he could learn most from (Molina) isn’t terribly concerned with him receiving said time.
Who knows? Yadi could calm down some through the years of his newest three-year contract and cede some behind-the-dish time to Kelly. It could happen, but given Yadi’s reaction last week it doesn’t seem likely.
“I think it puts everybody in a little bit of a hard spot. What’s best for Carson Kelly isn’t what Yadi Molina wants right now,” Langosch said. “So how do you balance those two things?
“I think this is an issue that’s going to become a bigger issue next year because you’re not going to keep Carson Kelly as your backup catcher next year expecting him to start 20 to 25 games. That’s just not going to work for him and I don’t think it’s going to work for this team.
“A fine line to walk there; a balance that I don’t think has been totally figured out yet, but one that I think is going to make for fascinating discussion for us for the next couple years.”