ST. LOUIS , Mo. (KMOX) –When reports came out indicating that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina would not discuss a contract during the regular season, nor give a ‘hometown discount’, that may have stirred up the haunting memory of Albert Pujols’ decision a year ago. Yet, Molina will reportedly not follow Pujols’ steps as he and the Redbirds are close to striking a deal that could keep the 4-time Gold Glove winner in St. Louis through 2016.
Molina would be eligible for free-agency after his current deal, a 5-year, $21.5 million signed in 2008, was due to expire after the 2012 season. Late Monday night, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the agreement will be a 5-year deal worth somewhere in the range of $70-75 million. Another report, made by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday afternoon plus updated early Tuesday morning, indicates that both sides were progressing toward an agreement and that an extension should be done by Friday.
Also according to Ken Rosenthal, if Molina is given $70-75 million over five years, he becomes the second all-time highest paid catcher in Major League Baseball history behind Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins, who earns $23 million a year until 2018. The current second highest is Jorge Posada of the New York Yankees at $13.1 million, which he made from 2008-11. This season, the next highest paid catcher entering the 2012 season would be Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves earning $11.5 million in the potential final year of his current contract.
A fourth round pick by the Cardinals in 2000, Yadier led the 2011 World Series champions in the regular season with a .305 batting average, plus set career-high numbers at the plate with 145 hits, 14 home runs, 65 RBI’s, and 32 doubles. At the age of 29, Molina won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove award while also earning a third straight All-Star appearance.
Going into the 2012 season, Molina will have the opportunity to work on a daily basis once again with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who also won 4 Gold Gloves, for the first time since 2004 when the two were Tony La Russa’s catchers.
Nothing official has been announced by either the St. Louis Cardinals or Molina’s agent Melvin Roman. If a deal can be agreed upon this early in spring training, then there would be no distraction for Molina besides being the Redbird’s catcher and returning top hitter for average.
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