Cardinals: Yadier Molina expresses desire to return to St. Louis

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Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a fly ball against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning of Game Three of the National League Wild Card Series at PETCO Park on October 02, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a fly ball against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning of Game Three of the National League Wild Card Series at PETCO Park on October 02, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Free-agent catcher Yadier Molina is not making it a secret: he wants to return to the St. Louis Cardinals and lists the odds of a return at 50 percent.

The market for longtime St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is heating up. He is drawing interest from the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres in addition to the Cardinals. But he has made it clear throughout free agency that his preference is to remain in St. Louis and he once again reiterated that this week.

“I would like to stay in St. Louis,” Molina told reporter Laura Bonnelly, via Hector Gomez.

Molina listed the chances of returning to St. Louis at 50 percent. It is no surprise that Molina wants to return to the Cardinals. After all, the 38-year-old has spent 17 seasons with the team and is considered a franchise icon. It is rare for a player to come up with a team and remain in the organization for so long – especially for almost two decades – and that likely appeals to Molina.

The hold ups, however, are obvious. Molina is seeking a two-year deal in free agency and while he is still productive, he is not an everyday catcher at this stage of his career. Paying in upwards of, say, $8 million per year over two seasons for a platoon catcher could prove difficult for president of baseball operations John Mozeliak.

The other, of course, is that each team pursuing Molina is a contender. The Yankees and Padres are two of baseball’s most competitive teams and have shown a willingness to spend. If they offer Molina the deal he seeks, it is easy to see him pouncing on it and leaving St. Louis.

Molina’s return to the Cardinals appears to be a matter of when, not if. It is not surprising that a deal has not materialized and it will likely remain that way for awhile. But as the landscape of a bare free-agent market reveals itself, it is likely Molina returns to St. Louis – perhaps on a deal that fits along what the Cardinals are looking for.

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