Yadi Considering Free Agency

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Yadier Molina is considering playing the 2021 season with a new team if the Cardinals do not extend him. He is currently in the last year of a three year deal worth $60 million. For the past few years, we have consistently heard Yadi say that he wants to retire as a Cardinal. For the first time Wednesday, Yadi said that he wants to play beyond this season, even if it is not with the Cardinals. Not having Yadi behind the plate would be strange to say the least, but that could be the case with Yadi considering free agency.

Declining Yadi?

Molina hasn’t been the normal Yadi we knew for all those years. His caught stealing percentage has gone way down and he only keeps getting slower. There are few things he will do on the base paths to help you win a game. With all that being said, he continues to swing a pretty good bat. Last year he hit .270 with 10 homers and batted in 57 runs. That’s still pretty good production for a soon to be 38-year-old. While Yadi may not be the same all-star behind the plate, he is still going to give you production at the catcher position.

Other Options at Catcher

Andrew Knizner and Adam Wainwright walk back to the dugout. Knizner could be the starter in 2021 with Yadi considering free agency
Andrew Knizner and Adam Wainwright during a game in 2019

The Cardinals have two young prospects that could take over for Yadier next year. Andrew Knizner, who has already had major league experience, would be the front runner for the job. With 118 innings of experience in the big league, Knizner has long been the front runner to be the Cardinals starting catcher whenever Yadi would retire. The other young prospect at catcher is Ivan Herrera. The soon to be 20 year old prospect seems to be a better long term answer at catcher for the Cardinals. A career .309 hitter in the minors, Herrera brings the type of bat that could help boost the productivity from the catcher position. Herrera may not be ready to fully take the reigns by the 2021 season, so if Yadi was to leave, Knizner would be the best option internally!

Re-Sign Him or Let Yadi Consider Free Agency

The answer is simple, it depends. If the price is right I definitely would bring him back. If Molina proposes $20 million a year again, I let him walk. Yadi will still give you production but you can’t spend that much money on a declining player. I would re-sign Yadi at a modest amount per year and give him several days off. This would allow Knizner to get valuable time behind the plate without throwing him straight into the fire. Yadi has definitely given us something to talk about while we wait for opening day to arrive, whenever that may be!

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