Reports and tweets surfaced late yesterday afternoon and intensified into the night that Yadier Molina is on the verge on finalizing a multi-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. The terms are still not confirmed, but seem to be in the 5-year/$70-75 million range according to a tweet from FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal.
The Cardinals failed to sign their long standing first baseman in the offseason and seem reluctant to allow Molina to part ways in a similar fashion. I’m not going to comment too much on the contract extension now because there are some variables that need to be defined before I am willing to completely lay out my analysis. For one, we don’t know if the contract is on top of the current season, or if it will eat up this season and obviously the dollar value is important to know before offering a complete breakdown.
I can tell you that the market for catchers next season is slim and the Cardinals’ system is slimmer for catchers. It can be argued that there is no one who matches Molina’s defense and ability to get the most out of his pitchers. These qualities combined with an excellent season at the plate in 2011 is certainly enough to warrant an extension. I will completely dissect the contract once the terms are confirmed. Later today, I will write a separate editorial about Molina which doesn’t require the exact numbers and will stress what this means long term for the Cardinals.
CRAIG RUNS WITH TEAMMATES
Yesterday, I noted that Allen Craig was ahead of schedule in his recuperation from knee surgery. The good news keeps flowing in as he was able to run with his teammates during workouts yesterday and he felt he maintain pace with the group. Per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, Craig was quoted as follows.
I don’t think I stood out like a sore thumb. I think I fit in. It felt great. Today was definitely a real good day.
If Craig is able to get himself completely ready for opening day, it immediately brings several questions to the forefront. How will he get his playing time and who will lose time because of it. In the immediacy following the surgery it was anticipated that he may not be back until May. This would have given manager Mike Matheny a full month of games to determine if there were weak spots to exploit. If Craig is ready by opening day, Matheny will only have a handful of meaningless games to make lineup decisions.
LOHSE TO START SPRING OPENER
Matheny named Kyle Lohse the starting pitcher for the spring opener scheduled for March 5th. Yesterday, I detailed the slow path the Cardinals are taking with Chris Carpenter due to his 2011 workload, and Adam Wainwright is coming back from Tommy John surgery, so this is not surprising. There is also little represented by having Lohse or anyone else start the spring training opener. There is no tradition behind it as there is with getting the opening day start.
CARPENTER TO TOSS LIVE BP TODAY
Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch, revealed that Carpenter will toss live BP today. It will be the first time that Carpenter has faced batters this spring. Wainwright is set to make his third appearance in front of hitters, so Carpenter is really not that far behind his teammates as far as progression of workouts is concerned. Carpenter is still the favorite to be named the opening day starter. For those interested in the rematch between Wainwright and Carlos Beltran, well it happens today as Beltran is in the group hitting against Waino.