In MLB breaking news, sources all around the league have announced that the St. Louis Cardinals are re-signing veteran catcher Yadier Molina to a one-year deal worth $9 million. This season will mark Molina’s 18th season in the league, all of which have been spent in a Cardinals uniform.
Molina who is currently 38-years-old still carries a great deal of value as an MLB catcher. Already a four-time Platinum Glove Award and nine-time Gold Glove Award recipient, “Yadi” is widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive catchers of all-time, and he’s still got it after only allowing six stolen bases in the 2020 campaign.
With his defensive resume’, not much more is needed to justify Molina’s significance to the St. Louis lineup, but his bat is no slouch. In the 2020 campaign, Molina launched four home runs, batted a modest .262, and drove in 16 runs.
Saving money for St. Louis on the one-year contract was also key considering the new blockbuster addition, Nolan Arenado, joining the lineup. This will take even more pressure off of the aging Molina and allow him to focus more on moving runners and doing what he does best, driving in runs in clutch situations.
MLB Breaking News: Molina the Veteran Backstop
Measuring statistics is always fun, and with a guy like Molina, the list goes on and on. His most valuable asset, however, is something much tougher to measure on a stat sheet, that being his veteran presence. As far as prospects at the catcher position go in the Cardinals’ organization, Andrew Knizner seems to be the likely choice as to who will eventually take over when the seemingly ageless Molina does hang up the gear. In the meantime, however, who better for the young backstop to learn from than the future Hall of Famer?
Handling an MLB pitching staff is no easy task either, and the nine-time All-Star Molina has a great deal of experience handling the electric stuff that St. Louis staff has to offer. Whether it be in the form of 100-plus MPH fastballs from Jordan Hicks, filthy breaking stuff from ace Jack Flaherty, or the endless repertoire of Carlos Martinez, Molina has been able to familiarize himself with these arms and knows what to do to help them succeed.
Nothing helps get a group of young arms confident quite like having a brick wall behind the plate to give them peace of mind about passed balls and keeping opposing runners in check.
Yadier Molina: Helps Cards Contend
No more than one week ago, a problem facing the 2021 St. Louis Cardinals was in regard to who would catch. Now that question has the answer that many Cardinal fans had hoped for, with their legendary catcher re-signing. Could a division title be on the horizon for the Cardinals?
Division rivals such as the Chicago Cubs seem to be re-tooling, and perennial cellar-dwellers like the Pittsburgh Pirates are not making any large strides forward, which pretty much sets the stage. Milwaukee returns some strong arms and big bats such as Christian Yelich, and the Cincinnati Reds have some exciting talent as well in the form of Joey Votto and Nicholas Castellanos, but none of them seem to have the full package that the Cardinals do.
With Molina manning what will likely be the bulk of the backstop duties in a full 2021 season, the pieces of the puzzle match up much better. Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and company will lead the power surge for the Redbirds, and as mentioned above, Molina will be looked upon in the middle or bottom of the order to move his St. Louis cohorts around the base paths.
Even if he repeats something similar to his career batting average of .281 without much for power numbers, the Cardinals will likely claim the NL Central crown with him healthy and in the lineup – something not lost on top online sportsbooks. This is a huge re-sign for the St. Louis Cardinals organization and for Yadier Molina as he prolongs his illustrious MLB career.
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