The St. Louis Cardinals and Yadier Molina are finalizing a contract extension that will keep the seven-time All-Star catcher with the team for another three years. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday night that the sides were very close, followed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports declaring an agreement was in place. No official announcement has been made, however.
The new agreement is expected to be worth in the $55 million and $65 million range over its term, according to Rosenthal.
In 2017, the 34-year-old is entering the final year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. That deal also includes a mutual option for 2018 that few realistically expected would be executed. At this point, it is unclear whether the new extension will cover the years 2017-2019 or 2018-2020.
This spring, the eight-time Gold Glove Award-winning catcher had put his career-long employer under a deadline. Molina stated that if a new extension was not in place by Sunday’s season opener, there would be no in-season negotiations and he would prepare to enter the free agent market in the fall. The catcher's bargaining position was strengthened by his 2016, during which he played in a career-high 147 games while batting .307, followed by March's World Baseball Classic, in which he led a pitching-poor Team Puerto Rico into the finals and was named to the all-WBC Team.
Called an “iconic player” by team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. in a radio interview on Thursday, Molina has a chance to join Stan Musial and Bob Gibson as career-long Cardinals Hall of Famers. This new contract could be the final step to ensure that legacy continues to its conclusion.
Yet to be worked out is how playing time behind the plate for the Cardinals will evolve over time as Molina moves into his upper 30's and prospect Carson Kelly completes his minor league development.
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Prospect Interview: Carson Kelly
Not yet a member?
Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Take advantage of our seven-day free trial.
© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.