St. Louis Cardinals: Molina, Wainwright will decide the offseason

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 1: Yadier Molina #4 and Adam Wainwrigh #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals get ready to deliver a ptich to Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 1, 2017 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Billy Hurst/St. Louis Cardinals/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 1: Yadier Molina #4 and Adam Wainwrigh #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals get ready to deliver a ptich to Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 1, 2017 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Billy Hurst/St. Louis Cardinals/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals are juggling what to do this offseason. Their first decision is going to decide the rest. Do they bring back Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright?

The hot topic of the offseason for the St. Louis Cardinals has always been the debate about whether or not to bring back franchise icons Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina.

From reports from Derrick Goold and other local media members as well as from President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak himself, this dilemma is priority number one.

In a normal year, the decision about whether or not to bring these two back would be much more auxiliary. Neither player is going to cost very much on their own, and both could likely be signed for less than $20M total.

However, because of the current economic downturn of the MLB and the way that is impacting the Cardinals, payroll has to drop. Every dollar counts so much more this winter.

Molina and Wainwright both have plenty of teams interested in them, and that will only drive the price up for the Cardinals.

Some will be happy to hear that the Cardinals are still viewed as favorites for Molina, but the decision here isn’t just about Molina and Wainwright, it is about them at the expense of not spending elsewhere.

Adding back Molina and Waino at less than $20M total is not a lot of payroll to add, but $20M is likely close to the maximum amount that could be added this winter. Trading Carlos Martinez or any other large contract on the Cardinals can free up more room, but the Molina and Waino decision will decide the offseason for the Cardinals.

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Until Molina and Waino sign with the Cardinals or another team, don’t expect other moves. At this point, some fans may not expect any moves anyway, but the door is at least open if these two franchise icons walk.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what the team wants 2021 to be. If they bring back Waino and Yadi, it will be a season full of fanfare and love for these two in what would probably be their final year in Cardinal red together. That is great and I understand the appeal, but the on-field product will suffer.

Let Waino and Yadi walk, and the Cardinals can afford to sign another bat or two that can make the team better in 2021 and beyond at the expense of a proper goodbye.

Nothing is ever so black and white, but if the decision was up to me, I would let them walk. Right now, it feels the entire offseason for the team is stalled because of the wait to see what will happen with Yadi and Waino.

Letting the two find other teams is not an insult to them or to fans, but a rededication to the future. Signing Yadi for two more years does not let the team figure out what they have in Andrew Knizner, the future behind the plate. Signing Waino is betting for the third time that his arm holds up in his late thirties. It has worked so far, but nobody knows when father time will catch them both.

Next. Exploring the Gary Sanchez fit. dark

If you are happy with the potential of bringing back Yadi and Waino, you cannot be upset if those are the only two free-agent deals made this winter. There is a very low chance you get both.

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