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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Mets, Yankees Have Shown Interest In Yadier Molina

oth the Mets and Yankees have reached out to Yadier Molina’s camp to express interest in the veteran catcher, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). The Cardinals icon has also heard from at least three others, per Heyman.

It’s not surprising that either New York club would at least explore the possibility of bringing the 38-year-old Molina into the fold. As noted here at MLBTR last week, signing Molina would be a major narrative shift in the Bronx, where Gary Sanchez’s defensive struggles and prolific strikeout rates have drawn the ire of many fans. Molina, of course, is a generational defender at his position and still possesses some of the best bat-to-ball skills in baseball (13.5 percent strikeout rate in 2020).

As for the Mets, they’ve been oft-connected to J.T. Realmuto since it became clear that Steve Cohen would purchase the club from the Wilpon family. Wilson Ramos is a free agent, leaving Tomas Nido atop the team’s depth chart behind the dish. For a club with immediate postseason aspirations under new ownership, that doesn’t cut it. Molina would be a more affordable option than Realmuto, leaving more resource available to pursue other top free agents and trade targets (e.g. George Springer, Trevor Bauer, Francisco Lindor). Outgoing White Sox catcher James McCann stands out as a younger alternative as well.

Agent Melvin Roman told Heyman a couple weeks back that he’s seeking a two-year deal for Molina, and Roman told MLB.com’s Jon Morosi last week that they’ve heard from at least three clubs beyond the Cardinals.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2020 at 01:06 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, mets, yankees

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   1. Adam Starblind Posted: November 12, 2020 at 01:42 PM (#5988476)
Molina is a backup catcher at this point.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: November 12, 2020 at 01:49 PM (#5988479)
I will not accept that.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 12, 2020 at 02:05 PM (#5988481)
signing Molina would be a major narrative shift in the Bronx
Yeah, one of their major weaknesses has been the narrative at catcher.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 12, 2020 at 03:21 PM (#5988487)
Hard to say. The durability to catch 100-120 games seems to still be there but he's 38 and the bat is slipping. He's not a difference maker really at this point, he's (at best) an average C. If you currently have nothing at C, he's a reasonable signing; if you have a promising rookie C who needs to learn the ropes, he could be an outstanding guy to sign to start 100 games this year and tutor the young guy; start 60 next year; then the kid moves into the 120-140 start territory.

I don't know how he's supposed to fit with Sanchez with the Yanks or if the Yanks are giving up on Sanchez. A test for Cohen: he could go really big and sign Realmuto; he could go "heart and soul" and overpay for Molina; or he could sensibly sign 1-2 of the boring C options out there (which could be Molina on a reasonable contract).
   5. Lassus Posted: November 12, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5988489)
No. #### off for ####### up D'arnaud, and then #### off for trying this.
   6. flournoy Posted: November 12, 2020 at 03:56 PM (#5988491)
I don't see Molina leaving St. Louis to be a backup somewhere else, and I don't see any other team offering him more than a backup role.
   7. phredbird Posted: November 12, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5988496)

IIRC there was talk a while back that he was angling for the managing job in STL. this was when matheny was on the hot seat.

i guess the consensus was that he wasn't ready or the org just wanted him to catch, so they went with shildt.

shildt has turned out to be satisfactory, so that's out now. so it won't surprise me to see him signing somewhere else.

but i wish he would play out the string in stl, tutor one of our young Cs and stay on as a coach or something.
   8. salvomania Posted: November 12, 2020 at 05:19 PM (#5988504)
then the kid moves into the 120-140 start territory.

Who are these kids starting 120-140 games at catcher? Two catchers started as many as 120 games in 2019 (Molina, and Sal Perez), two also in 2018 (Molina, and Willson Contreras).

2016 was the last year more than two catchers besides Yadier Molina started at least 120 games. As for 130 starts, it's happened 6 times in MLB since 2015: three by Molina, and once each by Perez, Realmuto, and Martin Maldonado. Only one catcher has made 140 starts in a year going back to 2015, and it was Molina.

Most starting catchers start (at catcher) in the ballpark of 2/3 of their team's games, if that.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 12, 2020 at 05:25 PM (#5988506)
I assume his last year will be 40 games with the A's.
   10. JJ1986 Posted: November 12, 2020 at 05:47 PM (#5988510)
If the Mets are going to get one of the top-3 free agents, Realmuto is definitely my preference.
   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 12, 2020 at 05:56 PM (#5988511)
I assume his last year will be 40 games with the A's.


Or he'll sign with NY for 2 years and believe it or not, the NY pixie dust will be even more potent then the St. Louis version, he'll slash 280/330/460, catch 120-130 games both years and will be declared a sure fire first ballot HOFer.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 12, 2020 at 06:06 PM (#5988512)
Or he'll sign with NY for 2 years and believe it or not, the NY pixie dust will be even more potent then the St. Louis version, he'll slash 280/330/460, catch 120-130 games both years and will be declared a sure fire first ballot HOFer.
Followed by 40 games with the A's.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: November 12, 2020 at 08:36 PM (#5988527)
#8 ... Who are these kids? The ones who become all-star Cs. If you don't have that kind of kid in your system, then so be it. But top Cs get 120-140 starts a year (when healthy) with the occasional Posey who'll get about 110-120 with 20-30 starts elsewhere. But sure, maybe this is another shift in the game over the last 5-10 years that has escaped my attention. Most teams of course don't have star Cs; most of them don't have good Cs. It doesn't matter much who goes back there so sure, the typical split between two guys who are OK defensively and hit like a C or worse is likely to be 100/60 or 80/80. The tolerance for a Gary Sanches type varies across teams but generally won't get much more than 100 starts at C.

Nitpick: In 2019, Realmuto and Grandal both started 120+ -- Grandal 124 (+17 elsehwere) and Realmuto (130 + 3).

To be clear, "young" for a C is pretty likely to be 24-25 and "old" still often arrives around 31-32. Contreras broke into the majors at 24; a bit of job-sharing at 25 but also missed a month -- still, only on track for about 110 starts; started 123 at 26; started 71 of the Cubs' first 78 games in 2019 (2 not at C) then missed 10 days, back for a few, missed a month.

Anyway, it's fine to refine my statement to "Cs who can hit a bit and play decent defense start 120-130 games when healthy." And possibly that's out of date. From my experience, those are usually the sort of C prospects you bring in a vet to tutor but of course most of those prospects don't develop that well. And there's no harm bringing in a Molina to help your mediocre young guy improve his defense and learn how to handle pitchers even if you think the guy will never be better than a 80-100 start C.
   14. The Duke Posted: November 12, 2020 at 08:51 PM (#5988530)
Molina preps to play 162 every year. He won’t be anyone’s backup and he won’t do a timeshare so unless another team is willing to run him out there every day (which the cardinals seem to be willing to do ), he’s going back to the Redbirds.
   15. salvomania Posted: November 12, 2020 at 09:13 PM (#5988532)
Anyway, it's fine to refine my statement to "Cs who can hit a bit and play decent defense start 120-130 games when healthy."

Carson Kelly sure looked to be that after his age-24 2019 when he hit 18 homers in 314 ab with an .826 OPS (after not hitting at all in short stints over three years for the Cardinals before they packaged him for Goldschmidt), with good defense to boot.

Kelly cratered in 2020, but I think a lot of the guys who had tough seasons this year should get a Covid mulligan.

I wonder what kind of a year to expect from him in 2021, assuming some degree of normalcy. (I know, I know)

(one thing I just noticed is, with the DH in 2020, Kelly went from 10 intentional walks in 2019 to zero in 2020. That's 20 points of OBP/OPS right there.)
   16. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: November 12, 2020 at 10:00 PM (#5988533)
I assume his last year will be 40 games with the A's.

Isn't everyone's?
   17. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 13, 2020 at 12:24 AM (#5988543)
I love Yadi, but Father Time catches up to everyone. Even Molinas.
   18. DonPedro Posted: November 13, 2020 at 12:58 PM (#5988616)
shouldn't a Molina be easiest to catch of all major leaguers?
   19. Walt Davis Posted: November 13, 2020 at 04:43 PM (#5988650)
shouldn't a Molina be easiest to catch of all major leaguers?

Turtles/tortoises have very long lifespans. It's a tortoise/hare thing ... Father Time goes flying by then has to wait for the Molina to catch up.

alternate wry comment: Father Time is still tired from trying to catch up to Ichiro.

(I would put Rickey there but that was a long time ago now. 17 seasons have passed since Rickey last played. I am old.)
   20. Walt Davis Posted: November 13, 2020 at 04:45 PM (#5988651)
shouldn't a Molina be easiest to catch of all major leaguers?

Turtles/tortoises have very long lifespans. It's a tortoise/hare thing ... Father Time goes flying by then has to wait for the Molina to catch up.

alternate wry comment: Father Time is still tired from trying to catch up to Ichiro.

(I would put Rickey there but that was a long time ago now. 17 seasons have passed since Rickey last played. I am old.)
   21. KronicFatigue Posted: November 13, 2020 at 04:49 PM (#5988653)
Most starting catchers start (at catcher) in the ballpark of 2/3 of their team's games, if that.


Has there ever been an attempt to mitigate the damage that catchers take? Would catching on one knee with the bases empty help their health at all? Or is it mainly about foul tips and the like?
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: November 13, 2020 at 06:32 PM (#5988661)
Yadier had 6 steals in 2019 and zero caught stealing.

12 for 15 in 2012, too.

otherwise, yes he has been pretty easy to catch (48 SB, 34 CS the rest of his career)
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: November 13, 2020 at 06:54 PM (#5988667)
I'm a Molina fan, but he has hurt the team and his career by insisting on playing everyday, just like Rolen after his shoulder injury, Molina is good if he takes a day off every 3-5 days... but he insists on playing everyday.

He's a great teacher, but he needs to accept that he's a 90 start max guy nowadays. And a mentor for an average or better young kid. If I'm a team, I might think about him as a 50/50 starter, who you probably want to put into the game to help the relievers... so he might get 120 games, but not all of them starts. Give him two or three starting pitchers to be their personal catchers, and then bring him in as a reliever specialist, if you actually believe that a catcher can help a pitcher perform better.
   24. bjhanke Posted: November 13, 2020 at 10:41 PM (#5988691)
The main appeal of Molina right now would be his knowledge of catching and pitching. At the worst, he could end up in arguments with the team's pitching coach. At the best, several pitchers would suddenly get much better, as Molina saw something in their, say, slider motion. As a player, the big thing is that you know what you're going to get. His playing level is well established.
   25. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 13, 2020 at 10:51 PM (#5988694)
Does the magic pixie dust that's going to get him into the hall of fame wear off a bit if he spends his final two seasons in, say, Cleveland? (Followed by a brief cameo in Oakland, of course.)

Being a one-team guy seems to be a part of his brand, but I suspect that he's going to get the one-team bonus even if he moves around a little bit at the end.
   26. The Duke Posted: November 13, 2020 at 11:01 PM (#5988695)
He and wainwright are very close to breaking the all-time record for most battery starts. They need two years probably to get there or one really good year by Waino.

It would likely be a record that will never be broken as pitcher-catcher pairs never stay together that long anymore. I guess if they both go to the same team, they can still pull it off - but that seems highly unlikely.

The funny thing about that is that their iconic moment together is when wainwright struck out Beltran in a relief role.
   27. Howie Menckel Posted: November 13, 2020 at 11:13 PM (#5988697)
Mets fans have a similar sentiment about Molina as they do about Chipper.

of course they haunt those dreams, but respect is there.

Chipper named his kid "Shea" and always loved the repartee with the Shea rowdies.

he has been on the Mets' local radio show a number of times in recent years.

I suspect that (sorry) "Mets Nation" would welcome Molina.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: November 14, 2020 at 12:25 AM (#5988701)
Has there ever been an attempt to mitigate the damage that catchers take?

Depends on how far back you look. I don't know what the cause was (beyond slightly longer schedules) but pre-war Cs rarely made it beyond 1500 starts. It's hardly common today but I think it happens a lot more often. (Or did.) Keeping their throwing hand behind their back came around in the 60s I believe (at least announcers still talked about it as a recent innovation in the 70s, Hundley and Bench I recall being credited). Steve Yeager brought us the flap which was superceded by the fancy helmets of today. But other than the hand thing, that's not really what you're interested in I don't think but they have done stuff to try to protect them more.

Tony Pena used to sit on the ground although he also stuck his leg out which you'd think would expose it to foul tips. I suspect umpires would not be fond of catchers getting lower and less mobile -- maybe when we get robot umps.

Although it's obviously not good for you and (with a very rare exception maybe) no C can handle 150 starts on a regular basis, I'd like to see a more thorough analysis of the aging patterns of Cs. Like I mentioned, it frequently takes Cs a long time to break in to begin with. Back when Schwarber first broke in, I took a look at some Cs and nearly all of them spend at least 1.5-2 years at AA and AAA and that's usually after a few years working up to AA. There's of course freaks like Rodriguez and Mauer and I recall McCann had very little minors time after college.

A lot of these guys aren't drafted as Cs so it might be a couple of years before they even make the transition. Contreras is a classic example. Signed before 2009, he didn't catch at all until 2012. He then made 71 starts at A (age 21), 73 in A+, 75 in AA, then finally 45 in AAA and in the majors at 24. He was pretty much "full-time" starting in 2017 but some injuries have limited his PT. He's about to turn 29, has fewer than 400 starts at C and fewer than 2000 PA. He's been very good (more RAA than Rrep) but he'll be lucky to make it to 5000 career PA even if he does improve his framing.

Anyway, if you don't debut until 24-25, you then often spend 1-1.5 seasons being tutored, and then your bat fades on the same schedule as an average non-C and you're lucky to squeeze in 5-6 years as a "full-timer." If they are more suscepible to in-season injuries, that makes it even harder.

So, beyond needing at least one game off per week, how much of it is late start, how much is in-season injury and how much is cross-season durability issues beyond those of a normal player? I assume there are still substantial long-term durability issues but it would be interesting to nail down.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: November 14, 2020 at 10:15 AM (#5988709)
It's hardly common today but I think it happens a lot more often. (Or did.)


It did, but it won't any longer. Our understanding of concussions will shorten the careers of catchers.
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 14, 2020 at 12:10 PM (#5988720)
#28 it seems then Like the way to get the most out of your catchers is to get them playing “everyday” in the majors earlier. Unless it really takes that much longer to develop a catcher.

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