There were rumblings Yadier Molina could retire at the end of this season, but a report says he’s talking to the St. Louis Cardinals about an extension.
When Yadier Molina was a free agent this past winter, he made it clear to the St. Louis Cardinals and any other team that expressed interest that he wanted a multi-year deal so he could have long-term certainty.
He ended up with a one-year deal with the Cardinals, of course, and has left the door open to continue playing beyond 2021. In fact, Molina and the Cardinals have kicked the tires on a contract extension for 2022, possibly 2023, and they expect it to be finalized by the end of the regular season, according to El Nuevo Dia, a news agency in Puerto Rico.
If true, it would keep Molina in St. Louis for at least another year, giving him the security that he sought and the Cardinals one less position to worry about in 2022. And, if completed, would be a crucial move for the Cardinals as they look to maximize the tenures of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.
Molina would help a pitching staff that figures to undergo a makeover in the offseason as they seem likely to move on from Carlos Martinez and Miles Mikolas and possibly move Alex Reyes from the bullpen to the rotation. It could also help convince Adam Wainwright to return for another season, as the two made it clear they wanted to play together in 2021 — whether it be in St. Louis or elsewhere.
And even as Molina is in his upper 30s, he still has a decent offensive skillset. He started the season hitting well over .300, but has regressed back to .357, though he has still shown an affinity of stepping up when the Cardinals have needed him the most.
Keeping Molina in town for another season has always made the most sense, considering the Cardinals have no viable internal replacements lined up. And getting a deal done now, as opposed to later, so they can avoid the drama that their negotiations brought last winter may ultimately make the most sense for both sides.