MLB

MLB rumors: Cardinals, Yadier Molina discussing contract extension for catcher’s 19th season in St. Louis

USATSI

It appears that St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina may not be ready for retirement. According to Katie Woo and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the club and Molina are talking about a one-year contract extension that will keep him in Cardinals uniform for the 2022 season. 

Molina, now 39, is under a one-year, $9 million pact for this season, and as Woo notes on Twitter he’d be seeking at least that much for 2022. After he previous deal ended following the 2020 season, negotiations on a new deal were slow to develop, and for a time it appeared that Molina would either retire or play elsewhere. However, the two sides were eventually able to reach an agreement. 

This season, Molina has batted .256/.303/.378 (89 OPS+) with eight home runs and 16 doubles in 91 games. He’s also spent just under 750 innings behind the plate this season as the Cardinals’ primary catcher. Over that span, he’s thrown out an impressive 43 percent of opposing baserunners. However, according to the advanced catching metrics available at Baseball Prospectus Molina no longer grades out as a plus defender overall. 

Molina, likely a future Hall of Famer, has spent his entire professional career, including parts of 18 seasons in the majors, with the Cardinals.

Molina’s presumed near-term successor at catcher, Andrew Knizner, has struggled against major-league pitching thus far, but his playing time has been limited and erratic. Long-term, the position will likely belong to prospect Ivan Herrera, who’s producing solidly at Double-A this season. However, he may not be ready until well into the 2022 season, which should provide a path for Molina to play one more season in St. Louis should the two sides come to terms. 



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