MLB free agency: Yadier Molina, 38, expected to re-sign with Cardinals soon, per report


The St. Louis Cardinals re-signed stalwart right-hander Adam Wainwright to a one-year contract earlier this week, and they are expected to bring back his longtime batterymate in the coming days. Yadier Molina is expected to re-sign with the Cardinals after the upcoming Caribbean Series, reports MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Morosi says Molina could sign even sooner than that.

Molina, 38, has said he is open to joining a new team this offseason, and at various points the Mets, Padres and Yankees were among the clubs to reportedly show interest in him. It was always difficult to see Molina in another uniform, however, and the news that he is expected to re-sign with St. Louis is hardly a surprise. The Cardinals have reportedly made a one-year contract offer.

As expected given his age and career workload, Molina’s game has started to slip in recent years. He authored a .262/.303/.359 batting line with four home runs in 42 games around the club’s COVID-19 outbreak last year, and his throwing and pitch-framing have slipped from out of this world good to merely a tick above-average. That said, Molina remains a solid backstop and leader.

The shortened 2020 season ended Molina’s streak of catching at least 100 games at an incredible 15 years. He currently sits sixth on the all-time games caught list and could climb as high as fourth place with good health in 2021.

  1. Ivan Rodriguez: 2,377 games caught
  2. Bob Boone: 2,161
  3. Carlton Fisk: 2,157
  4. Gary Carter: 2,019
  5. Jason Kendall: 2,013
  6. Yadier Molina: 1,947

Molina made his MLB debut on June 3, 2004, and only four active players debuted earlier: Albert Pujols (April 2, 2001), Oliver Perez (June 16, 2002), Miguel Cabrera (June 20, 2003), and Zack Greinke (May 22, 2004). Cabrera, Pujols, and Greinke are all under contract for 2021. Perez is an unsigned free agent.

Earlier this month Molina joined Atenienses de Manatí for the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League postseason in his native Puerto Rico. It is Molina’s first time playing winter ball since 2013 and he even pitched in a blowout loss recently.

The Caribbean Series is an annual tournament featuring the champions of winter ball leagues in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. The tournament begins Jan. 31 and will be played at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal in Mazatlan, Mexico. The championship game will be played Feb. 6.

Because he’s a free agent, Molina is free to play winter ball with no strings attached. If he were to sign with the Cardinals prior to the end of the Caribbean Series, the team would need to grant him permission to play.





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