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Yadier Molina Newsbeat

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cardinals, Yadier Molina Discussing Extension

The Cardinals are working to extend the contract of longtime catcher Yadier Molina for at least one more year and “probably” two more seasons, reports The Athletic’s Mark Saxon (subscription required).

Molina, 37, has been the Cardinals’ primary catcher since 2005 and, over the course of his career, has shouldered the largest workload of any backstop in the game. His durability is the stuff of legend, as evidenced by 15 straight seasons of at least 107 games caught and an average of 126.4 games caught per season during that remarkable stretch. From 2009-13, Molina caught at least 131 games per year. As recently as 2016, he started a ridiculous 142 games behind the plate.

Currently in the final season of a three-year, $60MM extension that pays him an even $20MM per year, it’s unlikely that Molina would command such a lofty salary under the terms of a new contract. The 2019 season, after all, was among the least-productive years he’s put together since breaking out as a big league regular (despite a league-wide uptick in offensive output). In 452 plate appearances, he hit .270/.312/.399. Molina’s low strikeout rate and excellent bat-to-ball skills have long helped him post quality batting averages, but last year’s 5.1 percent walk rate was the lowest of his career. His power dipped noticeably from its 2017-18 levels as well. Molina’s once-elite caught-stealing rate and framing numbers have also tailed off over the past couple of seasons, checking in closer to league average.

Molina, of course, is still a plenty useful backstop — one whose all-around value to the organization would surely be labeled as invaluable by the Cardinals themselves. Hammering out a specific price point could be difficult, though. Molina’s annual salary was already a high-water mark for catchers, and there’s no recent precedent for a catcher inking an extension at this point in his career. Then again, there’s no real precedent for a catcher with Molina’s track record in today’s game at all (as alluded to previously). By the time most catchers reach their age-38 seasons — Molina will turn 38 in July — most have either been downgraded to backup status or have simply retired.

On the bright side, the longer and longer his contracts are, the more and more time will pass before we see some truly awful HOF vote columns…...

 

QLE Posted: March 12, 2020 at 12:50 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, yadier molina

 

 

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