February 08, 2017

Will the #Cardinals dump Molina after this year?

Yadi Molina
The long-term fate of iconic St. Louis Cardinals catcher, team leader and firebrand Yadier Molina is among team topics broached by Derek Goold on Tuesday.

Yadi is entering his 14th year, with a lot of mileage on his behind-the-plate wheels, despite manager Mike Matheny saying every spring he plans to rest him more. Injury last year to Brayan Pena spiked that idea in 2016.

With Carson Kelly offering promise of being the signal-caller of the future, and the Cards in the NL not having a DH slot, I'd argue that odds are slim, if not quite none, that he stays, at least not for a long-term deal.

This year is his last guaranteed year. The Cards have a $15 million team option or $2M buyout for 2018.

The Cards have in the past promised they were seriously looking at keeping the likes of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, and we know what happened there. My best guess is that the Cards either pick him up for the one year, or else try to get that into something like a 2/$30 rollover, depending on what Kelly does this year, but, no more than that. It's possible Molina picks up a third baseman's glove in spring training to increase his versatility, whether that keeps him in St. Louis or betters his stock elsewhere.

In St. Louis, that would be predicated in part on the team not resigning Jhonny Peralta, which is a likely move, especially if Jedd Gyorko backs up third this year as part of being a super-sub. That said, if Aledmys Diaz shows his performance last year to be fluke not reality, Gyorko is moving back to SS more.

Right now, tentatively, I'll offer 60-40 odds that Molina is in St. Louis for 2018 and about 35-65 that he is in 2019. I'll put the 2020 odds at 4-1 against.

Picking up the one-year extension, or making it a two-year deal, with Yadi running out to third at times, would let GM John Mozeliak explore other options at the hot corner. Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson will both be free agents after 2018 — and both will be pricey.

Your thoughts? See the two polls at left to vote on both 2018 and 2019 and whether or not Yadi is still in St. Louis.

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