Yadier Molina has been a staple in the Cardinals organization for more than a dozen years. St. Louis wanted to ensure he remained that way until the conclusion of his playing career–something Molina wanted, too. But for his new contract, Molina had a goal in mind: he wanted to become the highest paid catcher in the major leagues.
According to a report by Ken Rosenthal Thursday night, the Cardinals and Molina are finalizing a contract extension that will give him that distinction–at least on an average annual value basis. While Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch emphasizes the deal is not yet complete, finalization could come together soon, and the team remains optimistic about getting it done.
Molina’s new contract extension, as reported by Rosenthal, is expected to be valued between $55 and $65 million dollars for a three-year term. Buster Posey, who signed a lengthy extension before his arbitration years were used up, has made an average salary of $18.5 million per year, according to Rosenthal.
Though Posey’s salary these days goes beyond $20 million per season, Molina would be right within that range, something he strongly felt he deserved based on recent comments to the media. Molina has been a fixture for the Cardinals, and wanted the organization to show they appreciated that enough to pay him handsomely for one final deal.
Thursday's news comes as a major relief for the fan base, as it had been widely reported that Molina was not willing to discuss any extension once the season began. Should the team and Molina not reach an agreement by Sunday, Molina could conceivably become a free agent following the 2017 season by opting out of a mutual option for 2018. That situation appears to be a risk that the team preferred to avoid.
Concerns over Molina's status are nearly a thing of the past. All indications now point to Molina becoming one thing former Cardinal great Albert Pujols never could: a Cardinal for life.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.