JUPITER, FL. (KMOX) — Finally. After days of reports indicating that a deal was likely between the Cardinals and Yadier Molina we have an announcement forthcoming. The Cardinals are holding 1:00 p.m. CT press conference today here in Jupiter.

I’m sure they won’t divulge contract details so it will be interesting to see what gets reported. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote yesterday that Molina had agreed to a 5-year, $75 million deal and he’s a very good reporter.

I’ve already had people ask me if Molina is worth that kind of money and I’ve answered those people with a question…

Do you think Molina’s value is only 1/3 of Albert Pujols’ value?

Pujols got $240 million from the Angels and $75 million is 31% of that.

Even if you want to stick with just this 5-year window from 2013-2017 I think the comparison is favorable to Molina. Albert will make $114 million over the next 5 years – Molina will make $75 million, if Heyman’s report is on the money. That puts Molina at 66% of what Albert will make during that same time frame.

So is Molina worth more or less than 31% of Albert’s money? Is he worth more or less than 66% of Albert’s money?

I’d argue more than both. I wouldn’t peg Molina’s monetary value as being equal to Albert’s but in terms of his on-field responsibilities he is certainly worth more and 1/3 or 2/3 of Albert.

Albert puts up the numbers and that’s generally what gets players paid in the big leagues but let’s not kid ourselves. Even a great first baseman has a limited number of opportunities to impact a game. The catcher is involved in every pitch thrown by his team’s pitchers. He has to execute the game plans set forth in meetings, he has to block the ball when it’s in the dirt and he needs to control the other team’s running game.

The catcher also needs to play the role of psychologist and  on-field coach for his pitchers from time-to-time. There is a reason the catchers here in Jupiter are the first players to take the field and the last players off at the end of the day.

This organization values that presence and apparently they’re willing to pay for it.

As John Mozeliak asked me and Mike Claiborne the other day…”how do you replace him” if he leaves?

This is not like making a 10-year commitment to Albert. This is a 5-year commitment at a fraction of the cost for a player that is vital to every single game the Cardinals put him behind the plate for…and that’s most of the games.

Any multi-year deal at a high salary can go bad so I’m not saying this is going to have a story book end. I don’t know if it will or won’t and neither do you. What I do know is that the Cardinals locked up a player whose performance is critical to the team’s ability to win games. With some other veterans coming off the books in the not-too-distant future – Lance Berkman, Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook after 2012 and Rafael Furcal, Carlos Beltran, Chris Carpenter after 2013 – and some young players on the rise they should be able to make the money work down the road, even with a big extension eventually coming for Adam Wainwright.

No deal is perfect but it certainly makes good sense to lock up Molina.

Now we just need to wait and see if the numbers reported are accurate…

More to come later on Total Information PM and Sports Open Line.


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