The St. Louis Cardinals are finalizing a one-year deal with free agent catcher Yadier Molina, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This ends several months of ongoing rumors regarding the negotiations between the two sides.
Molina ending up back with the Cardinals always seemed the most likely option and so many people would’ve had a tough time adjusting to Molina wearing another uniform.
Molina, 38, now heads to his 18th season with the Cardinals, who drafted him out of high school in the fourth round in 2000. He debuted at the big-league level in 2004 at age 21.
Since then, Molina has won nine Gold Gloves, four platinum gloves, a Silver Slugger, two World Series and been to the All-Star Game nine times. He’s racked up 2,001 hits, 381 doubles, 160 homers, 932 RBI and 713 runs in the regular season while slashing .281/.333/.404. In 101 playoff games, Molina has hit .280 with 19 doubles, four homers and 36 RBI.
Behind the plate, Molina has led the league in caught stealing percentage four times and has long been regarded as one of the best in the business at dealing with a pitching staff.
In 42 games last season, Molina hit .262/.303/.359 (81 OPS+) with four homers and 16 RBI.
At this point, Molina is likely to slot toward the end of the batting order with lion’s share of his value coming from leadership, defense and working with the pitchers.