Yadier Molina’s free agency continues to drag on, but he still prefers to play with the St. Louis Cardinals and the interest in a deal is mutual.
The feeling is mutual, as Goold notes that the Cardinals team ownership wants to bring Molina back. They consider him a “legacy player” in the franchises history and have indicated a strong desire to keeping Molina in St. Louis.
Yet, talks have been slow to progress. Molina is seeking a two-year deal in free agency and there is little indication that the Cardinals are willing to meet his demands. Molina, meanwhile, appears willing to wait out the market and could remain unsigned until top free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto comes off the board.
It could enhance Molina’s chances of landing a two-year deal, but the most likely scenario remains that he will land a one-year deal with a club or mutual option for 2022. Teams will be hesitant to give a declining 38-year-old catcher a multi-year contract worth $10 or so million per season. And if Molina does end up accepting a one-year deal, it will open up his market to more suitors, enhancing his chances of landing the financial guarantee he desires.
The Cardinals are the most likely destination for Molina. There is clear mutual interest in completing a deal and it often leads to an agreement. But there is an increasingly real chance that he plays elsewhere next season, with the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees and Washington Nationals looming as possibilities.
Whatever the outcome, it does not appear it will come until January — at the earliest. And with each day that passes, the odds of Molina playing elsewhere appear to grow.