Last week, Fox 2 Sports Director Martin Kilcoyne dropped a huge scoop when he shared that the Cardinals and future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina met to discuss Molina coming onto the Cardinals' coaching staff. This week, The Athletic's Katie Woo confirmed this report, once again stating interest from both sides in a reunion.
Now Yadier Molina has spoken about the situation, and his comments are very promising for those who hope to see him back in the Cardinals dugout in 2024.
While being interviewed by El Vocero de Puerto Rico, Molina opened up about how he met with Cardinals' management when he was back to see Adam Wainwright during his retirement ceremonies, and that the two sides discussed what it could look like for him to join the coaching staff next season.
"We hope that if something happens, it will happen soon, and if not, then I would still be willing to continue helping them when they need me while I am here in Puerto Rico. They have the knowledge of my willingness (to take a position in management or the coaching staff)."- Yadier Molina
This is huge news for an organization that is facing one of its most important offseasons in franchise history. Bringing back Molina wouldn't just be some ceremonial thing, it would have major impacts on the club, both on and off the field.
First, Molina's baseball knowledge and ability to transform an organization is unparalleled. The Cardinals spent the last decade telling us how important Molina was to their success and doubled down on it this past year when things were a disaster. While the Cardinals have to make significant upgrades to their pitching staff this offseason, adding Molina would be a huge part of reshaping this team.
Aside from the impact he could have on the players' performance, there are also huge implications for manager Oli Marmol as well. Let's be honest, if the Cardinals do well next year and Molina is in that clubhouse, fans are going to give him all of the credit. If things go poorly for the Cardinals, all of the blame will go on Marmol and fans will be calling for a managerial change. Marmol strikes me as the kind of manager who would sign off on this kind of move, and if he does, he should gain a lot of respect from the fanbase.
The reporter who interviewed Molina also noted the potential impact he could have on Willson Contreras behind the plate, which is a very real benefit of having Molina return to the dugout. There have been rumors that the Cardinals would move Contreras out of the primary catching role again, but it's clear that this team would be at its best if Contreras is thriving behind the plate. Molina can help him do that.
The Cardinals rescheduled their end-of-the-year press conference for later this month, so I'd imagine the club hopes to have this nailed down by the time they address the media. Most reports indicate that Molina would be coming on as a bench coach, but there is still a possibility he just helps in a part-time capacity as a catching coordinator or special advisor. Let's all hope the Cardinals and Molina are able to finalize a deal for him to return to St. Louis in 2024.