Yadier Molina and the St Louis Cardinals recently engaged in contract talks, but could Travis d’Arnaud’s extension impact them?
The St. Louis Cardinals recently engaged in contract extension negotiations with Yadier Molina and the expectation is that they will eventually reach an agreement on a one-year deal. But while they continue to negotiate, the Atlanta Braves signed their catcher Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year, $16 million extension that includes an $8 million club option for 2024.
Will it have an impact on Molina?
d’Arnaud, 32, has produced strong numbers in recent seasons. In 2019, he hit .251/.312/.433 with 16 home runs and 69 RBI in 351 at-bats. In 2020, he hit .321/.386/.533 with nine home runs and 34 RBI in 165 at-bats and looked like one of the best catchers in baseball. He has struggled this season, hitting .223/.277/.369 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 103 at-bats, which is likely why he was only able to secure $8 million per season.
But if d’Arnaud, who has produced at a high level in recent years, was only able to get $16 million over two seasons, will Molina be able to get an $8 million AAV? He is said to be looking for around the $9 million per year that he is earning this year. But that now comes into question, considering he has not had the same success as d’Arnaud since 2019, and could impact their negotiations this season.
Molina, however, has an argument on his side. While d’Arnaud was better in 2019 and 2020, Molina has been better in 2021. He is hitting .256/.303/.378 with eight home runs and 49 RBI and remains a very solid option behind the plate as both a game caller and with his ability to throw out base stealers. It’s something he is surely going to point out to the Cardinals, along with his deep history in St. Louis and his impact throughout the organization and especially in the locker room.
The expectation remains that Molina and the Cardinals come to terms on a one-year deal worth close to $9 million, but d’Arnaud’s extension with the Braves could make that a little more difficult.