Are we going to see a Yadier Molina with a chip on his shoulder this year? Will the departure of Albert Pujols dictate the behavior and attitude of Yadi during the season? The early signs that we have seen thus far in the early spring sure seems to lead to the idea there may be some trouble on the horizon.
As Yadier moves into his option year we seem to be watching the same show but with a different lead actor. It is no secret to anyone the relationship between Molina and Pujols is one that runs deep. Molina has described it as on that is like a “big brother” relationship. I think this could pose some issues with the chances of Molina staying here in St. Louis.
I think the first warning sign was in January of this year when Molina was a no show at the Winter Warm-Up. Everyone played it off as if it was no big deal. Yadi said he couldn’t make it because of family obligations and then said he was not comfortable participating. This is the second year in a row. AP was also disgruntled this time last year. Maybe this is a coincidence. Molina did agree to throw some money at Cardinal Care in lieu of his appearance (or lack there of). For the most part this was dismissed as no problem; however it raised enough concern with the new skipper Mike Matheny that he made a phone call to check on Yadi. I think Matheny has great insight to Molina as well.
Now, over the past few weeks Molina has made some very unsettling statements to the media. He has made it clear that things around the team are going to be different without Albert there. He said they still talk every day and he is going to miss him. He has also made it very clear that it is about the money. In Jerry Maguire fashion, “show me the money”. I do respect him for being honest in that regard. He is letting us know that this will be a business decision. He said he loves the city and the Cardinal Red. Yet, his favorite color is green. I understand, but it doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy about his future. At least he isn’t going to surprise us.
He followed those statements up with a move right out of the Pujols book of negotiations. He says he will not discuss any contract matters once the season has begun. He has wavered from this stance back and forth over the past few days. He said he doesn’t want his contract to be a focus during the season. Does that sound familiar to anyone? He says that he learned a lot from Albert during the past season in regard to signing a contract. If that is the case, he should have also learned that his contract will be a focus if he doesn’t sign before the season starts. It will be the elephant in the room all year regardless if he wants it to be or not.
I think his statements have made him sound like a Pujols ventriloquist doll. I can’t imagine these types of statements sitting well with the Cardinal Nation. The sore is still a little raw from the last guy that talked like.
The flipside to that is the Cardinal front office shouldn’t make an extremely low offer to him. However, they would be foolish to walk in with an open check book and let him go crazy with writing zeros just to avoid another departure of a fan favorite. Coming to the table and being ready to make it happen would be a good approach. I am sure they will analyze each detail of the entire scenario.
I don’t know what the magic numbers are to sign Molina. What I do know is that it is going to be very interesting before it is done.