Thursday evening, it was reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the St. Louis Cardinals and All-Star catcher Yadier Molina were closing in on a three-year extension worth somewhere between $55-65 million.
There is no doubt that this development will peak the interest of both the Texas Rangers and their own All-Star catcher, Jonathan Lucroy. The Rangers made a bold move at last year’s trade deadline acquiring Lucroy as they had long desired to have a catcher with his pedigree.
Lucroy showed his offensive and defensive value very quickly hitting .276 with 11 home runs and 31 runs batted in across just 47 games, while also throwing out 36% of would be base stealers. It was no surprise when Texas picked up his $5.25 million option for this season and is also no secret that both the Rangers and Lucroy would be thrilled to find a way to extend his stay in Texas beyond the 2017 season.
The question now for both the Rangers and Lucroy will be how they both assess his value as it relates to the Molina contract. According to Ken Rosenthal, if Molina’s contract falls somewhere in between $55-65 million, he will become the highest paid catcher based on his average annual salary.
Lucroy will undoubtedly and rightfully seek similar money to Molina and it will be up to the Rangers to decide if he is worth the investment. While Lucroy is 30 years old, he is significantly younger than Molina who is 34 and had arguably one of his better seasons last year.
The Rangers also know how big of an asset he is to a Ranger pitching staff that has a lot of questions behind Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels. Despite how much they like him the Rangers will still have to deal with the financial reality of what it would take to keep Lucroy long term.
There is a chance that the Molina deal will price them out of Lucroy's market as they have recently signed Rougned Odor to a long-term extension and have to decide whether or not to try and keep Yu Darvish beyond 2017 as well. These are all things that will come into play now that the Rangers know what the market will be.
It would not be a surprise if the Rangers and Lucroy start at least talking about an extension at some point this season. It also wouldn't be a surprise if Lucroy proves himself to be invaluable to the Rangers future if he continues where he left off last season. If they do indeed decide to extend their professional relationship, you can expect Lucroy to make similar money to Molina now that the market has been set.