Cardinals: Why Yadier Molina’s market may soon come into focus

Could Yadier Molina sign soon?

With J.T. Realmuto signing a five-year, $115.5 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, the market for free-agent catcher Yadier Molina should soon come into focus.

What teams are all involved on Molina besides the St. Louis Cardinals is unclear. The teams that pursued him at the beginning of the winter – the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels – pivoted to other options. The Washington Nationals and New York Yankees have been mentioned as possibilities, though nothing has been reported on their interest for over a month.

Which puts the Cardinals at the front of the Molina sweepstakes, and it would remain a stunner if he did not return to St. Louis. But his asking price – a two-year deal – is said by those involved to come with an astronomical financial request. There have been rumblings of what that looks like, but we have not confirmed them at this time.

But it is increasingly clear why Molina remains unsigned this late into the offseason and if he and his agent Melvin Roman do not come off their demands soon, he could be unsigned headed into spring training. And if Realmuto’s record-breaking deal is any indication, perhaps Molina will not be moving off those requests.

That said, the Cardinals and Molina have clear mutual interest in completing a deal. Both sides would benefit from a reunion and it is why the industry expectation has always remained that he would return to St. Louis for his 19th season.

Now that Realmuto has signed, the catching market should see a similar domino effect to what we’re witnessing with the infield market. It has already started, with Wilson Ramos signing a deal with the Detroit Tigers.

When will Molina follow suit? Ultimately, it depends on when he becomes realistic in his demands — and it could be a while until that time comes.