(Busch Stadium) The contract extension is now official–Yadier Molina will remain with the St. Louis Cardinals through 2020.
“I’m very pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Yadier Molina on a three-year contract extension,” began St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt in this afternoon’s press conference. “There is no question that he is without equal in managing a pitching staff. And he ranks among the Cardinals all-time leaders in numerous offensive categories. And most importantly, he’s a leader and a winner. He’s at his best when it counts the most. In his 12 years as our starting catcher, we have won six division titles, two Wild Cards, three pennants and two World Championships.
As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Cardinals franchise, Yadier Molina has become an iconic player, one of the all-time greats in Cardinals history. Only two players will have started more consecutive Opening Days – Lou Brock and Stan Musial. Pretty good company. We are thrilled to have Yadi continue his remarkable career with the Cardinals through the 2018 season and look forward to much continued success with No. 4 behind the plate.”
Financial terms were not disclosed by the team, multiple reports state the extension is worth $60 million over the three years.
The 34-year old Molina has spent his entire career with the Cardinals and expressed that he never wanted that to change.
“This is a special day,” said Molina. “I can’t be more happy than I am right now. This is a dream come true. I always wanted to be here. My family knew that. My agent knew that. My teammates knew that. It was a hard week going back and forth with feelings. But I’m just glad that we got it done because this is the right place to be. I’m happy to be here. This is a great organization, a winning organization. I’m a winning player. I see myself doing good stuff from now on, especially winning a World Series. One or two more, three… or four. That’s my idea.”
Under contract through this season, Molina and the Cardinals held a mutual option for 2018 prior to this new extension being worked out.
“Today is not about a sun-setting career, today is about us retaining the greatest catcher to ever wear a Cardinals uniform,” stated General Manager John Mozeliak. “It’s been something that Yadi and his agent, Melvin Roman, and I have been kicking the tires with for some time. There’s always that point in contract negotiations where something else might be coming up and I think both Melvin, Yadi and I knew that we were running out of runway if we wanted to get something done. This past week was something that we truly focused on.
“It’s unique to sign a player that when this contract ends is going to have 17 years in an organization, especially when you think about how active free agency is. Both Mr. DeWitt and myself and the organization, we were motivated to try and find a way to make this work. And in the end, we’re glad we came to the place we could agree upon.”
Molina led all MLB catchers in innings caught last season (1218.1) and now ranks 2nd all-time in MLB in games caught (1582), innings caught (13,254), putouts (10,470), and total chances (11,377). Yadi has been selected to seven All-Star teams, won eight Rawlings Gold Gloves, and four Rawlings Platinum Glove awards.
But the personal achievements remain secondary.
“My main thing is to stay healthy,” explained Molina. “To be in the game and try to help my team win. After that, I know I can do different stuff personally. I know I can win the Gold Glove. I know I can do many, many things that I want but the main goal is to win the World Series.”
And as for how many more years Yadier Molina would like to play?
“Well, how many years did I sign?” he smiled. “Four more. For now.”
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI