The Cardinals continued to add to their depth and fuel ongoing positional battles on Friday, acquiring catcher Ali Sánchez from the Mets in exchange for cash considerations. Sánchez was the Mets’ No. 21 prospect in 2020, per MLB Pipeline.
St. Louis has four catchers on its 40-man roster, which features 39 players overall. Sánchez will compete for a backup spot behind Yadier Molina, along with Andrew Knizner and Tyler Heineman, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. Knizner, who appeared in eight games in 2020, seems to have the inside track for the backup role, but the Cards have now added two catchers from outside the organization to provide alternatives should they elect to give Knizner a more consistent workload with Triple-A Memphis.
The final catcher on the roster is Ivan Herrera, the club’s No. 4 prospect. But at just 20 years old and having played only two games at Double-A, he won’t be rushed to the Majors.
Sánchez, 24, was designated for assignment by the Mets on Wednesday. A native of Carora, Venezuela, Sánchez made his Major League debut in 2020, notching one hit in five games. Across six Minor League seasons, he owns a .259/.317/.331 batting line. What he lacks offensively, he makes up for in the field, lauded by scouts for his defensive prowess. Sánchez has thrown out 46 percent of would-be base-stealers in his Minor League career.
The Cards will open camp on Wednesday with nine catchers in camp: Molina, Knizner, Sánchez, Herrera, Heineman, Aaron Antonini, Dennis Ortega, Pedro Pages and Carlos Soto -- the last five of whom are non-roster invitees, as announced on Thursday. Absent from that list is Julio Rodriguez, the club’s No. 15 prospect who had been projected to start the year at Triple-A.
This is the second depth trade the Cardinals have made this week in exchange for cash considerations, having previously added right-hander Johan Quezada to the bullpen mix on Wednesday.