That's high praise indeed.
Those comparisons are not as surprising as they first seem, however, when you consider that Molina, like Rodriguez, is a Puerto Rican catcher with a strong and accurate throwing arm and outstanding defensive skills.
Molina joins the Cardinals' starting lineup this season, taking over behind the plate for Mike Matheny who departed via free agency. Molina appears more than ready for his new assignment. He's very poised and polished for someone of his age and experience level.
Cardinals' pitchers had the opportunity to work with Molina on a part-time basis last season and, to a man, came away impressed with the young catcher.
They rave about his defensive abilities, his "cannon" of a throwing arm, and his maturity and "feel for the game" for someone so young.
St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa is also impressed with Molina and pleased with his rapid development. When asked about Molina late last season, LaRussa said, "It looks like he's going to be a star. He's already an outstanding defensive catcher and he's going to get even better as he gains experience. And he hangs in there at the plate and get his cuts in. His hitting will continue to improve. The scouts like him a lot and so do I. I think he's going to be one of the best catchers in baseball".
And that's what Yadier Molina wants. To be one of the best. He watched every move that Matheny (a Gold Glove Award winning catcher) made so that he could learn as much as he possibly could from him. He watches his brothers Bengie (another Gold Glove Award winner) and Jose catch for the Anaheim Angels as often as he can.
Molina wants to be just as good as those Gold Glovers are.
And someday very soon he will be.
Yadier Molina has some Gold Glove Awards of his own in his future.