Mere hours from the trade deadline, the St Louis Cardinals are scrambling and it's for something they haven't had to worry about for years: catching help. Stalwart backstop Yadier Molina left last night's game with the Pirates due to a sprained knee, and is expected to be placed on the DL today.
Molina is possibly the most indispensable player in the majors due to his elite glove behind the plate and newly found excellent bat. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Molina has received 80% of the playing time behind the plate for St Louis and has also been the team's most valuable player in terms of fWAR, barely edging out Matt Holliday and the departed Albert Pujols.
Luckily for the Cardinals, the catching market is actually pretty deep today. Possible options include veteran Kelly Shoppach, who just opted out of his minor league contract with the Nationals, Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies, and perhaps even John Buck of the Mets or Kurt Suzuki of the Nationals. The best part about all of those players is that all would be a rental as opposed to a long-term option at the position. If Molina's injury is more serious than a sprain, the Cardinals absolutely need an upgrade over Tony Cruz and Rob Johnson. Luckily for the Cardinals, they still have a 4.5 game lead on the Reds for the NL's top wild card spot and an 8.5 game lead on the Diamondbacks for the second wild card spot. I think Shoppach would end up being the logical choice due to his low cost in terms of both salary and prospects (none).