Cardinals icon Yadier Molina stays in a stare-down of kinds with the one group he’s ever identified, looking for a two-year deal whereas the Playing cards idle amid budgetary uncertainty. Molina famous earlier within the winter that he’s heard from as many as 5 different golf equipment, however his desire has clearly been to return to the Cardinals.
Now, in an interview with La Vida Baseball’s Polo Ascencio (hat tip: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Molina means that if he doesn’t obtain the precise supply, he feels he may retire along with his head held excessive after a terrific 17-year profession. Molina made clear that he’s nonetheless understanding, preparing as if he’ll play in 2021.
It’s exhausting to think about Molina strolling away when he’s beforehand been so adamant about persevering with his profession, however the Cardinals haven’t been aggressive of their efforts to retain Molina or longtime teammates Adam Wainwright and Kolten Wong — each free brokers themselves (Wong after having his 2021 membership choice declined).
The remainder of the marketplace for Molina’s providers, in the meantime, might have modified a bit since receiving that early curiosity. The Mets signed James McCann, taking them out of the marketplace for one other catcher. Molina beforehand talked about curiosity from the Padres, however they picked up Victor Caratini from the Cubs. The Yankees are nonetheless in a staring contest of their very own with DJ LeMahieu and don’t seem prepared to spend elsewhere till there’s decision on that entrance. The Angels, one other membership talked about by Molina himself, may nonetheless be a match however are absolutely wanting on the pitching market and maybe at J.T. Realmuto, who additionally stays unsigned. The Phillies would make one other on-paper match, however they, too, are intently ready to see the place Realmuto’s market goes. Goold notes that the Nationals have additionally been in contact with Molina, however they’ve been centered on including extra thump to their lineup up to now.
On the very least, it appears probably that after Realmuto is off the board, Molina will obtain robust one-year curiosity because the clear greatest various available on the market. Whether or not that pushes the Cardinals or one other membership towards the two-year time period he prefers can’t be identified at the moment, nor can the extent of potential gamesmanship in his feedback about retirement be identified. Nevertheless, with about $155M in profession earnings below his belt already, Molina received’t really feel financially obligated to easily take the most effective supply on the market if he doesn’t really feel he’s being valued appropriately available on the market.
There’s no denying that Molina’s bat has tailed off over the previous two seasons. He stays extraordinarily tough to strike out (13%) however has posted a mixed .268/.310/.388 batting line since Opening Day 2019 — a pronounced lower from the .282/.330/.434 output he notched from 2016-18. Molina’s bat remains to be roughly in step with that of the league-average catcher (by measure of wRC+), nevertheless, and he’s nonetheless revered for his skill to name a recreation, body and block pitches, and management baserunners.