The St. Louis Cardinals’ catcher will see his playing days come to a close after his contract expires in 2020.
Yadier Molina, the long-time St. Louis Cardinals catcher, announced over the weekend his intention to hang up the glove after his contract expires in 2020. The reality of the news came crashing down on Cardinal Nation as the Winter Warm-up festivities continued in St. Louis.
Molina is coming off a another great season, which we saw the return of his power numbers. He batted .273 in 542 plate appearances, while hitting eighteen home runs. Molina drove in eighty-two RBI, a career high, and scored sixty runs for the third time in his career. The Cardinal’s catcher also posted the third most hits for a catcher in 2017, behind Buster Posey and J.T. Realmuto.
Unfortunately, Molina did not win a gold glove this year. However, I believe his defense improved tremendously. You could tell from the way he played in the World Baseball Classic, Molina’s effort would be there. While at times, some criticized him for his play, he turned a great season despite the team missing the playoffs again.
Molina has been hard at work already this off-season. The St. Louis Cardinals’ Twitter page posted a couple videos of Molina preparing for the season. Check out the video below to see some of the preparations Molina goes through:
With a retooled lineup, Molina is expected to see more RBI chances. However, the question Mike Matheny will have to answer is where to hit him in the order. Molina is known as the a middle of the order hitter, usually 5th, but will that be the case this season?
With the emergence of Tommy Pham and Paul DeJong, and trade for Marcell Ozuna, one would have to think Molina will slide down to sixth, maybe even as far a seventh in the order. The lineup right now would probably look something like this on Opening Day:
Over at Baseball-Reference, they are projecting Molina to hit .275, with twelve home runs and sixty-five RBI. He projects to collect another 133 hits in his career. If he averages just 90 hits over the next three seasons, Molina will reach 2,000 career hits, something I know he would love to attach to his stellar resume.
Meanwhile, I’ll just cherish the next three years of Molina. He is the best catch of his generation.