Cardinals, Yadier Molina Agree to Contract Extension

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JUPITER, FL - MARCH 26: Yadier Molina #4 of the St Louis Cardinals hits a home run against the Miami Marlins in the second inning during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium on March 26, 2017 in Jupiter, Florida. The Cardinals defeated the Marlins 3-0. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Yadier Molina agreed to a contract extension today, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network. The reported contract has Molina set to make $55-65 million over the next three years with the St. Louis Cardinals, and gives him a few more seasons to cement his legacy with the organization.

Cardinals, Yadier Molina Agree to Contract Extension

Molina’s contract extension comes on the heels of his outstanding performance in the recent World Baseball Classic, where he led Puerto Rico to an undefeated tournament before losing in the championship to the United States. Throughout the WBC, Molina’s leadership skills and defensive prowess were on full display, as he carried the team to the championship game with a new-found energy.

Molina brought this energy with him when he rejoined the St. Louis Spring Training camp in Florida last week. He has continued his stellar play after unlocking a new youthful feel that has him ready to go for the future.

“I feel like a 20-year-old kid,” said Molina, speaking to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after his return to Spring Training. On his weeks of playing with team Puerto Rico at the WBC, he added, “When you’re a part of that team, that was an amazing feeling. The energy they bring is contagious. It was good for me.”

Once Molina returned to camp, the Cardinals had one week before the season began to come to an agreement with the veteran catcher. Molina was entering the last year of his current contract, and was prepared to hit free agency if the two sides could not reach a deal by the season’s start, an ultimatum that he provided when contract talks became serious.

Coming off of a 2016 season highlighted by an excellent second half, in which he hit .365 and slugged .529 with 22 doubles and six home runs, Molina showed his value to the organization, while also showing he has plenty left in the tank. He may be getting older (he will turn 35 this summer), but his leadership to the young pitching staff, elite defense, and rock-solid hitting have made him a franchise player and a fan-favorite, and have proven his value time and again to the Cardinals organization.

Molina’s new contract extension will keep him in St. Louis through the 2019 season, when he will reach 37 years old. A three-year deal worth this much is little risky for the Cardinals. Though it delays Carson Kelly’s full-time arrival as the team’s catcher, it still gives Kelly the time to get ready and eventually replace Molina behind the plate. The deal reflects Molina’s value to St. Louis, where he has won two World Series titles, eight Gold Glove awards, and has played in seven All-Star games. Now, he is likely set up to retire a Cardinal and establish his place in St. Louis lore.

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