As if the fervor surrounding Opening Night wasn’t enough, the Cardinals added to the festivities when they announced a contract extension for Yadier Molina Sunday at Busch Stadium. Here are some highlights from the press conference:
– Molina’s deal is for three years and runs from 2018-2020. The financial details were not revealed during the presser, but Marly Rivera of ESPN reported the deal is worth $60 million.
– Molina said he and his agent, Melvin Roman, cried together on the phone after the deal was officially finalized. Molina did not reveal exactly when that phone call took place, but said it was sometime over the weekend.
– Molina was relieved and excited to see the deal come to completion, so that he was guaranteed to remain with the Cardinals.
"It was difficult thinking about that," Molina said of possibly playing somewhere besides St. Louis next season. "This is my house. When you understand the business side, you starting thinking differently. But Melvin did a great job together with Mo and Bill (DeWitt) to get this done, and forget about next year, and try and get this done right now. They did a great job."
Molina expressed what it meant to him to be on a short list of players in the modern game to have the chance to spend their entire career with one team.
"It’s a great honor to be a part of the organization for a lifetime," Molina said. "That was in my mind. I really wanted to be here since the beginning. That was the idea, I told that to Melvin. I wasn’t afraid to go outside to look, but I’m glad that we got this done. It’s a great honor."
– When Molina was asked how many more years he thinks he would want to play, he turned to John Mozeliak, and asked “How many years are on the contract?” to laughter from the press. Molina has four years left under contract with the Cardinals, and so he replied “Four years… For now."
– Asked if he would rather face any pitcher in major league baseball than go through a press conference where he has to talk about himself, Molina smiled.
"Yes," Molina laughed, gesturing toward his rosy cheeks. "Can't you tell?"
– When Albert Pujols left the Cardinals to sign with the Angels, his new contract with Los Angeles included a service contract with the organization for after he retires. Mozeliak said the negotiations with Molina never got into details about a relationship with the Cardinals following his playing career, but that the Cardinals would certainly be interested in exploring those options when the time comes.
“I assure you we will always keep the door open for him, whatever he’d like to do,” Mozeliak said.
– Mike Matheny was asked about his impressions of Molina back in 2004; that year was Molina’s rookie season, and Matheny was the Cardinals starting catcher at the time.
"When I went on the DL, I realized I opened the door, and it probably wouldn’t shut," Matheny said. "I watched Yadi progress and knew that he was ready, and it was his time. A lot of us knew the kind of defender he would be: Elite. And what he’s been able to do offensively was out of sheer will, determination and competitiveness… You could see he was going to be something very special.”