While the biggest names that could have been on the American roster opted not to play, Yadier Molina did decide to play for Puerto Rico. The team is headed to the finals of the World Baseball Classic after knocking out Venezuela, the United States and two-time defending champion Japan. They weren’t even supposed to get out of the first round, let alone be playing in the finals.
Former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was quoted following the game.
“He’s the greatest,” Tony La Russa was saying. “He’s a winner. As good as there can be.”
There’s no doubt in my mind that Molina, when all is said and done, will be up there with catchers such as Johnny Bench.
Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez praised the longtime Cardinal backstop.
“It’s a different feeling when you have Yadier behind the plate,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been managing everywhere, in the big leagues, Triple-A, winter ball, and it’s a different feeling when you have Yadier behind the plate.
“I’ve known him since he was 14 years old, and he’s always been like that. He takes his job — because it’s a job to him — to the next level.”
Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal has our attention on what is happening with free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse, who has yet to find a team. Props to former Cardinal pitcher Mark Mulder for correcting the writer when it came to Lohse’s attitude. I would like to think that Lohse is signed somewhere by the start of the season but it might not happen and that’s a shame. Should Lohse wait until after the June draft to sign, the Cardinals will lose their compensation pick.
Rosenthal also notes that “rival executives fully expect St. Louis to address the position before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, saying that Pete Kozma is not a full-season solution.”
Matheny also has a new web presence at http://www.mikematheny.com/.