ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals are shaking things up with an NL-worst 10-23 record. In addition to a series of roster moves over the last several days, one of their regulars will take some time off from his longtime position.

Willson Contreras will see fewer opportunities at catcher in the upcoming weeks, during which he will most likely slot into the Cardinals’ lineup as a designated hitter. Manager Oli Marmol informed several media members of the arrangement ahead of Saturday’s game.

Contreras is in the first season of a five-year, $87.5 million deal he signed with St. Louis last offseason, one he signed with intentions to follow the footsteps of longtime Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina.

For now, the plan is to start Andrew Knizner at catcher more regularly and give recently promoted prospect Tres Barrera some opportunities behind the plate as well. Marmol said Contreras would be used “almost exclusively” as a designated hitter, though could see some time in corner outfield spots as well.

The Cardinals have dropped 12 of their past 14 games, a stretch during which Contreras hasn’t caught any wins and been used as a designated hitter four times.

While Marmol did not disclose a motive to the decision, other than Knizner having a little more familiarity with the pitching staff, it raises questions about how Contreras has been performing as a catcher. Advanced analytics show his blocking at catcher has been right around league average this season, though he’s a bit more behind most backstops for framing in the lower half of the zone.

Guiding a pitching staff is another important element of the position. The Cardinals are in the bottom 10 of MLB teams in ERA (4.61), bottom 5 in WHIP (1.46) and Top 10 in walks (nearly 5 per game). Cardinals relief pitchers have also blown seven saves in 11 opportunities.

Whatever the larger reason may be behind the decision, moving Contreras out of catcher is not a scenario many envisioned would happen so quickly, if at all, into his Cardinals contract. It remains to be seen if he’ll move back into catcher more regularly, which would give the Cardinals more options to roll out a better offensive lineup.

Contreras, despite what analytics might show about his catching abilities, has posted respectable offensive numbers for the catcher position with a .280 average, two home runs and 14 RBI through just a little more than a month into the season.

The 30-year-old and three-time All Star said he was particularly excited to work with Adam Wainwright in starts during his sendoff year, through he will have to wait for that opportunity as well. Wainwright returns from the injured list on Saturday, with Knizner as his battery mate.