Cardinals: Insiders believe Yadier Molina is a Hall of Fame lock
When St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina’s career ends, two national baseball writers believe he’s bound for Cooperstown.
While there has been steady debate whether the St. Louis Cardinals overpaid by giving Yadier Molina a one-year, $10 million contract for the final season of his 19-year career, there has been a consensus on his status in baseball history.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network said that Molina is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. Meanwhile, Bob Nightengale of USA Today says Molina “will make the Hall of Fame — and there should be no debate.”
Molina, 39, has the resume both statistically and professionally to warrant such declarative statements. He has hit .280/.331/.403 with 168 home runs and 983 RBI in 2,123 career games. He has made 10 career All-Star games while earning nine Gold Glove Awards, widely viewed as the best defensive catcher of this generation, perhaps even of all time.
While Molina’s arm and overall impact has declined in recent seasons, as significant wear and tear will do to a catcher over a prolonged period of time, he remains an effective player. But he’s continued to do what he does best. He shuts down each team’s running game, as evidenced by how rarely opposing teams attempt to steal bases when he’s behind the plate. He has gotten the best out of each Cardinals pitcher over the last two decades, with his work with Adam Wainwright being the most impressive of his career.
“If you doubt that guy should be in the Hall of Fame,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said, “we may need to have an intervention.”
Shildt later added that no catcher impacts the game more than Molina, saying it’s “not even close.” There has been debate whether former Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer had a better career, who did have better statistical numbers than Molina, though Shildt and plenty of other baseball people agree that Molina is the best player of the two.
Perhaps the greatest sign of the respect he’s (rightfully) earned is that the talk is already loud about the farewell tour he will receive in 2022. Adam Wainwright, who has been by Molina’s side throughout his career, is now likely to return for another season so the two can go out together.
And when those two chapters in St. Louis Cardinals history end in 2022, rest assured that Molina’s will continue in Cooperstown — and perhaps Wainwright will join him once again.