The St. Louis Cardinals and Yadier Molina have agreed to terms on a contract extension for the 2022 season. The new agreement is worth $10 million. Last year, Molina spent multiple months as a free agent before returning to the club in February on a one-year deal. This time around the front office and Molina were able to come together before the end of the contract to ensure the Cardinals legend continued with the team.
The 39-year-old Molina started the year hot and posted an OPS of .997 in the month of April. He flashed power with five home runs and a .631 slugging percentage. Molina strained his foot at the end of the month and cooled considerably after returning. Overall, he has still produced at a similar clip to recent seasons at the plate.
Of course, none of that matters as Molina’s value comes from defense and handling pitchers. Any production with the bat has always been considered a bonus. His former manager Tony La Russa has often said that he would still start Molina at catcher every day even if he never got another hit in the majors. Molina has nine Gold Gloves and four Platinum Gloves. He still suppresses the running game and shepherds young pitchers through tough outings.
Hall of Fame Pedigree
The two-time World Series champion was named to his 10th All-Star team this year. He continues to check off various milestones. Last year, he collected his 2,000th career hit. In June, he and Adam Wainwright passed Don Drysdale and John Roseboro to move into fourth place in major league history for most games by a battery. They have 295 games together right now. Wainwright may join Molina by signing an extension of his own. If so, they could climb the list but would need 29 more appearances to top it. As it stands, Molina is the only catcher to ever catch more than 2,000 games with one team. He is fourth in total appearances behind the plate and is second only to Iván Rodríguez in put outs by a catcher.
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