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Cardinals and Yadier Molina closing in on five-year, $70-75M extension

Feb 27, 2012, 9:30 PM EST

yadier molina getty Getty Images

UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that the two sides are closing in on a five-year deal in the $70-75 million range.

Molina would make $14-15 million per season if Rosenthal is correct, which would give him the second-highest AAV (average annual value) for a catcher ever behind Joe Mauer‘s current eight-year, $184 million contract ($23 million).

As Rosenthal notes, only six catchers have ever signed long-term deals which averaged more than $10 million per season: Mauer, Mike Piazza, Jason Kendall, Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Varitek.

7:28 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Cardinals and Molina are “very close” to agreeing on a five-year extension worth more than $60 million.

5:44 PM: Last week the Cardinals and Yadier Molina were said to be making good progress on a long-term contract extension and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “terms are all but finalized.”

According to Strauss an agreement is expected to be in place by Friday and “both sides are very optimistic.”

Molina is currently slated to be a free agent next offseason, finishing up a five-year, $21.75 million deal that has proven to be a bargain for the Cardinals. Most speculation about his new deal has guessed 4-5 seasons at $10-12 million per year, which would be one of the five largest contracts ever for a catcher.

  1. okwhitefalcon - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Very positive news for all involved.

    Kudos to Mo, Dewitt for making it worth while for Molina to pass up FA and remain a Redbird.

  2. okwhitefalcon - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Apparently Yadi has broken the bank, WOW.

    From Ken Rosenthal’s twitter:

    Molina average salary of $14M-$15M in new deal with #STLCards would be second-highest ever for catcher behind Mauer at $23M.

  3. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Holy Crap! Paging Mr Martin, Mr. Russell Martin, you have Brian Cashman on the line. Mr. Martin to the courtesy phone please!

  4. okwhitefalcon - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Martin, Napoli and Montero just became alot happier.

    The market just got set.

  5. thetruth113 - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Wow 5 years, $75 million for a nearly 30 year old catcher is absurd. They were worried what Albert was going to look like at 40? What do they think a full time catcher looks like at 33 or 34? It’s alot worse

    • okwhitefalcon - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:33 PM

      It’s a calulated overpay but hardly a franchise crippler.

      They’ve got nobody that could’ve taken his place beyond this year, a ton of money coming off the books and extremely high end/low cost pitching on the way up over the next few years that will benefit from his presence.

      Lots of inherent value as well, provides stability with a franchise in transition.

      • thetruth113 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM

        There’s no doubt $15 mil/year is a good deal in 2012 and most likely 2013. But beyond that it is going to be very, very tough for him to earn anything close to what he’s being paid. By the time he’s 32 he’ll be lucky to be catching 110 games a year and his production is going to drop off very quickly from that point on. It’s not his fault catchers just age horribly and that the drop off, once it comes, is steep. He has been the most durable catcher in baseball for the last few years but he would be a very rare exception if he was still even a league average catcher come the 4th year of this contract

      • cur68 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:02 PM

        And you just don’t go wrong with a Molina calling the balls & strikes, like, ever.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:15 PM

        It’s also possible that we just don’t have a really good idea on just HOW valuable he is as a defender.

      • paperlions - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:13 AM

        Yadi could never play a game of that contract and STILL not match the sunk cost that is the last few years of the Pujols deal.

  6. jeffthomasb - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I may be clutching at straws here, but if his brothers are any indication, the gene pool hints at better-than-average longevity. This contract actually could be an outstanding deal for the Cards, given Yadi’s defensive abilities, and what he can do calling a game with his pitchers. And he seems to be on a gradual upswing offensively. Let’s just hope he’s not the Molina who got the recessive gimpy leg DNA…

  7. Gonzo - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Last years OPS+ 126
    Career OPS+ 88

    My brain just exploded. I know he’s the best defensive catcher out there. But $15 Mil a year is just mind bottling. I think he’s worth $7 Mil a year. And the Cards would max out at $10Mil a year to keep him from free agency.

  8. groundruledoublebourbon - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Really makes KC’s deal earlier today with Sal Perez look good… Over the spans of these catchers’ deals, the young Perez will be the more productive player. For a lot, lot less. I understand Yadi’s value, but Perez’s defensive skills are 1st class – he’s just lacking experience at age 21.

    • Gonzo - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:42 PM

      You’re trying way too hard to think outside the box.

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:48 PM

        I disagree. Catchers, and overweight ones at that, don’t age well. While Yadi’s skill set won’t diminish considerably, it’s not like he has a huge offensive prowess to begin with. I feel like the Cards are paying for past performance is all.

      • Gonzo - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:09 AM

        It’s easy to say that Molina won’t live up to the contract. Hell, I agree. But Molina will help the Cards more than perez will help the Royals. Once they are on the field, money doesn’t matter.

  9. kicksave1980 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    I’m going to get a lot of thumbs down for this one, but my fellow Cardinals fans will know what I’m taking about.

    You can look at on base percentage, being average, etc all you want, but Yadi is one case that those numbers don’t apply. In the late innings, there isn’t a player on the Cardinals roster I’d rather have at the plate for a clutch hit than Yadi. And that includes when Pujols was there. The guy comes through in the clutch, period. Not to mention all of the runs he saves the team over the course of the year. If someone steals on Molina, you can assume that it was on the pitcher.

    People are talking about Martin, Montero, etc., and this deal setting the market…the difference is that those guys have no business even being mentioned in the same sentence as Molina.

    • Gonzo - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:18 AM

      Look, I’m not going to quibble over whether clutch hitting is real. But you take back that statement about wanting Molina over Pujols. Take it back right now. Because it’s silly and you know it.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 28, 2012 at 7:55 AM

      In the late innings, there isn’t a player on the Cardinals roster I’d rather have at the plate for a clutch hit than Yadi. And that includes when Pujols was there

      Not sure why, Pujols destroys him in all the “Clutch Stats”:
      [career]
      2 outs, RISP:
      Pujols – .318/.513/.620
      Molina – .294/.387/.390

      Late & Close:
      Pujols – .312/.447/.577
      Molina – .285/.348/.406

      High Leverage:
      Pujols – .345/.450/.651
      Molina – .297/.362/.377

      • cur68 - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM

        What’s really stark to me about those stats is how ‘effin’ awesome BOTH guys are in high leverage situations. Given that Yadi’s a catcher, its even more impressive. I’d take the defensive skillz with that clutch O-line any day.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 28, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      Kick: Well stated. Most people have no clue how well he hits in the high leverage/clutch situations. They look at the BA…Homeruns…and assume he is just a decent hitting Catcher.
      Thanks to Church’s stats below…we have real data. On a side note…Thanks Church!

  10. kicksave1980 - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Gonzo- Of course, I had hoped that Pujols would retire as a Cardinal, but it doesn’t change my thoughts on Molina. I wasn’t comparing the two.

  11. uyf1950 - Feb 28, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    The monies a nice chunk of change. It doesn’t look like Molina left anything on the table, if the dollars are correct. The only thing that might concern me if I’m the Cardinals is the years, five years is a lot of years to guarantee a catcher.

    • paperlions - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:07 AM

      Agreed. It is too much, probably about $15M too much…or about $3M/year too much….no big deal. Yadi is a very popular guy with the players, coaches, and fans. Baseball-wise, it was an overpay; but from an organizational standpoint with respect to PR and giving a feeling of stabilization, this deal needed to get done.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        Not too much his tutelage of the young arms that are coming up.
        Hard to even put a price on that.
        If these reports are accurate…I will be very happy to see this get done.
        Yadi’s initial comments w/ regards to A.P. no longer being around and the “it’s just business” mantra had me a little worried.

  12. esackfield - Feb 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    TOO MUCH?! Yadi is the best catcher out there…. yeah he gets his acclaim defensively but how are you to say he is not a great player. He has hit .300 the last two years, Last year he had a Career High in home runs AND RBI’s… What is Greatness????? If Yadi doesn’t fit the criteria, I do not know who ever will. Being the best defensive catcher there is, He deserves it.

    GO REDBIRDS!!!!

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