Blog Entry

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:32 am
Edited on: February 29, 2012 1:22 pm

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals are about to sign Yadier Molina to a five-year deal believed to be worth $75 million, and though this deal certainly cannot be considered a discount, the Cards could not take a chance on losing him.

Folks will look at Molina's new contract, which a source suggested should come in at right about $75 million and is expected to be finalized soon, as a partial make-good after losing all-time great Albert Pujols to the Angels this winter. However, that is unfair to Molina, who is the best defensive catcher in baseball as well as the best throwing catcher. He had a very nice offensive year last season with 14 home runs, 65 RBI and a .305 batting average, but Molina's value goes well beyond that. The team has not only been a perennial winner in his tenure, but it has fairly consistently outperformed expectations, including two unexpected World Series championships. Some of that might have to do with an under-rating of Pujols' value or underestimating of ex-manager Tony La Russa's impact, or even Dave Duncan's. But a lot of baseball people think it is because of Molina.

Beyond the fact that he a three-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glove winner, he may be the most underappreciated impact player in the game. He is obviously not by the Cardinals, but by others. The biggest key to their title defense is not how they replace Pujols' offense but how they pitch, and it is hard to measure the importance of Molina's throwing, blocking and gamecalling ability. Molina respectfully declined comment this morning when asked about his contract situation, but sources suggest it appears headed toward finalization.

Molina is only 29, so the extension covers years 30-34, meaning there is a decent chance he'll still be productive at the end of the deal. The salary, assuming it comes in at $75 million, will make him the second-highest paid catcher ever behind Joe Mauer ($184 million, eight years), even ahead of Mike Piazza, ($91 million, seven years) and Jorge Posada ($52 million, four years). And though he obviously isn't the hitter they were, the value of having a great defensive catcher sometimes goes overlooked.

Glad to see the Cardinals, one of the smarter front offices in baseball, understood that.

Category: MLB

Since: Jul 22, 2009
Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:54 am

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

Well said, Willie!  This helps offset the loss of Duncan.  Molina was no slouch at the plate this season.  If he comes close to those numbers, this is a good signing.  I think they did overpay a bit, but they had to and certainly had enough money to do so. 

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:51 am

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

If he plays like he has for the next 5 years he is worth it.  He plays the most important every day defensive position in baseball, and hits well enough.  But a 5 year deal on a 30 year old catcher is a little bit of a risk.   

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:21 am

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

fandango you are definatly an idiot. Molina is definatly worth it.

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:52 pm

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

Some may have already mentioned it but the Cardinals also lost the best pitching coach in baseball history (arguably).  Having Molina in place for 5 more years will ensure that Dave Duncan's influence will continue with the pitching staff as Yadi calls games as he always has: pitch to contact, trust your stuff, get ground balls, keep pitch counts low.

Since: Feb 29, 2012
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:10 pm

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

Also, Molina can mentor the top-notch gunslingers that will be comming up in the next few years. S. Miller, C. Martinez, J. Swaggerty, etc..

Since: Feb 29, 2012
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:06 pm

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

fandango, their farm system is loaded. Cardinals will not be bottom feeders any time soon.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:02 pm

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

It has been reported, a few times, Pujols was offered 5 years at $165 million.  He considered that an insult, because it ONLY brought him to his age 37 season.  He claimed that didn't make him a Cardinal for life, and a slap in the face.  He wouldn't settle for anything less than 10 years, which is hubris on his part.

Oh, yeah, don't forget the offer during Spring Training: 8 years, $200 million, which he scoffed at.  Again, he WANTED 10 years.

Signing Yadi for 5 years at approx. $15 per year is well deserved.  He shuts down the running game, which definitely cannot be overlooked.  He's been fairly durable, as well (which is not something you can say about the other 'top' catchers in the game), and is another pitching coach ON the field (only Mauer, of the other top catchers, can proclaim that).   He also bats over 300, can hit 15 HRs, and doesn't strikeout often.  How many catchers actually help in every facet of the game?  Mauer...and...Yadi.  McCann is all bat, poor defense; Santana, same thing (and Yadi had a better year, offensively than him); Avila, Posey, and so on...we undervalue the complete player due to our Fantasy Baseball outlook, but, there hasn't been a better defensive catcher in, at least, the past 20 years (if not longer).

Since: Feb 24, 2008
Posted on: February 29, 2012 6:02 pm

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

they didn't screw up royaly dude....they couldn't afford a ten year contract at $25M a year.  why can't people figure that out?!  And yes, Pujols has been the best hitter in baseball over the last ten years....but why don't you take a look at the starting pitching for the Cards over that same time.  Constantly one of the best in baseball.  Do you think that has anything to do with it?  And for the record, Pujols never did much of anything in the playoffs, outside of one game against Texas last year.  He will be missed but baseball is played by 9 players on the field. 

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 29, 2012 5:40 pm

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

You are right that a lot of players are not worth what they are paid, but as a whole, if the sport is thriving, then they are in general getting their due.  If the sport is paying out huge salaries and struggling (NHL,NBA) then I agree, but MLB and NFL players get their cut.  Even if that cut is way more than they would make in a fair world.  Owners are making tons of $$ off of mlb, so the players should get their piece.

Since: Feb 29, 2012
Posted on: February 29, 2012 4:07 pm

Cards understand Yadi's value; looks like $75M

Yadi is worth exactly what he was paid. His offense has improved every year and defense and handling of the pitchers has always been first rate. This year he will be especialy important with Duncan gone. The puhols decision no mater how painful was the right decision since it would effect contracts for years to come. It made sense for an AL team since he will be able to be a DH the last 4 years of his career.

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