Yadier Molina Contract Extension??

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  • #127800
    bicyclemikebicyclemike
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    For those who have inside knowledge of the Cardinals operation, how much truth is there on the comments like “Yadi tells the manager when he plays and where he bats”?

    Is that more conjecture than fact? That sort of thing comes up now and then, but I wonder how much of it is true.

    I can see a veteran player late in his career wanting some say in how he is used. Brian brought up Carlton Fisk. I remember back in the early ‘80s the Reds wanted to move Johnny Bench to third base, and Bench balked at it. Because the Reds needed a third baseman their big wigs said Bench was “putting them on the spot” and were not real happy about him not being enthused to move positions. Bench replied “I kept them off the spot for 15 years”.

    Thus I can appreciate some push by a veteran to have a say in how they are used. But the final word needs to be from the manager.

    #127802
    AvatarMinuteman3
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    I do not have inside knowledge but I do have eyes and ears and have heard both Mo and Dewitt state in pretty clear terms that Yadi will be the judge of when he plays. Shildt said he agreed with that. Did he have a choice.

    #127803
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    On the general subject… My guess – because none of us know for sure – is as leaders, guys like Molina and Wainwright will get consulted on major matters that could affect team dynamics. At one point, I think it was Matheny who had a leadership council. Ignoring your veterans is a great way for a manager to lose his team – or by enlisting their support before making controversial decisions, it could develop advocates among the players.

    Having said that, a daily batting order should not be in this consulting category, IMO. Whether that happens with Molina, at least about where he fits in the order, I do not know, but it would not surprise me if he is told before changes are made that affect him. The matter of when Molina plays seems clearer. We have read a number of times that he has talked his manager out of a day off. This has gone on for years, maybe even back as far as TLR. Not defending or condemning it, but long standing practices can be hard to break.

    #127806
    bicyclemikebicyclemike
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    …and I do not see a problem with that. I think it is natural that a manager would communicate with his veteran “legacy” players on playing time, and when they were thinking of changing something that involved them.

    Another story – back in the mid-70s, 1974 I believe, I was in Southern California and went to an Angels game. Frank Robinson was closing out his career with the Angels. He slams a double in a close contest. As he is on second, a pinch-runner comes trotting out of the dugout. Robinson sees this and takes his batting helmet and slams it on the base, displaying quite clearly his anger about being pulled for a runner. The thud is real loud and almost echoes through the the park. I could not see the dugout from my vantage point, but am sure there were heated words between the player, not too far out from his future assignment as the Indians manager, and the manager.

    It can be tough handling those future Hall-Of-Farmer players. They rightly feel they have earned some say-so in how they are used, but again, the manager has to sometimes over-rule.

    #127808
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Emotion can get the better of anyone in the heat of the battle. Sometimes, letting things cool rather than confrontation ends up with a better result.

    For grins, I looked up the Angels manager in 1974, or should I say “managers”. There were three. Bobby Winkles was fired after 74 games, then Whitey was interim manager for four games, then Dick Williams finished the season. So the leadership there was clearly in transition. Maybe FRobby helped Winkles pack his bags. 😉

    #127811
    Avatarmudville
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    Brian – I really enjoyed your expanded article ‘Using Adam Wainwright’s Contract to Structure Yadier Molina’s 2021 Offer’. I think it’s a very level-headed analysis of the situation. Molina cannot be signed before free agency for less than $16M. That means that the Cardinals will have to allow him to become a free agent in order to find out what his market value actually is. After that, the Cardinals will have to decide if paying his market value is best for the team and the organization. The money is an important factor in all of this.

    I think this situation with Molina is similar to what Tom Brady is doing as a football player, continuing his career beyond what previously seemed possible. It’s fascinating to see what proper nutrition and modern conditioning techniques can do for an athlete nowadays. Who knows? Molina might decide to play through his age 43 or 44 season, just like Brady. Johnny Bench, who in my mind is is the best catcher to ever play the game, had to retire at age 35.

    #127812
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Thank you, mudville. It is another example of an article that grew directly out of a response right here on this forum. The discussions here are great! I had not thought of the Tom Brady comp, but there just might be something to that.

    #127836
    Avatarforsch31
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    Brian, I just read your article about using Wainwright as a model for a contract for Yadi. One thing I will point out is that Wainwright has had many arm issues which should lower his contact figures. As a pitcher, there is a greater risk he gets hurt or underperforms. We have a fairly consistent track record with Yadi.

    An appearance incentive is probably a good thing for Yadi at this point. However, I think the top end of the contract should be more than Wainwright’s. After all, Yadi is a second pitching coach on the field almost every night.

    #127837
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Yes, I mentioned Wainwright’s history, which is why he received a lower guarantee in 2019. But he earned a higher guarantee in 2020 based on his play in 2019, which as I noted was superior to Molina’s season. However, Wainwright’s total earning potential both years is the same. It appears the Cardinals see his peak value to them being worth a $10 MM salary.

    One can certainly argue Molina’s intangibles, but many speak of Wainwright leading the pitching staff. They are both considered very important, though I get that Molina plays every day. As I wrote, I would start with Wainwright’s deal in discussions with Molina. I did not say it would or should end there. But I believe that kind of structure should be the path to take, where Molina accepts some of the financial risk and makes significantly less than $20 MM per season.

    Again, for me, even if there was not a CBA reason to not extend Molina until winter, I would wait. If he puts up another 1.2 fWAR season in 2020, that would be two data points signaling a late-career decline. Remember that Molina was generally healthy in 2019 and his WAR was half of what it was in recent years. In fact, his 2019 fWAR was his lowest since 2006.

    On the other hand, if he jumps back up to a more typical level of performance, I would probably increase my offer accordingly. When we are talking about players in their late 30’s, recent results take on a higher level of importance to me than what happened three or more years prior. Wainwright’s current trend is positive and Molina’s is negative. The 2020 season will tell us much more.

    One point I did not mention in the article, but could be real, is how the negative 2020 from the business perspective for MLB teams might affect free agent spending this coming winter. Maybe it will not matter with Molina, but maybe it could…

    #127838
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    More to the point, forsch, based on what we know right now, what would you offer Molina for 2021? (Others, please join in, too. There are no right and wrong answers. We should thank Molina for giving us something new to talk about!)

    #127839
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Here is a math-driven formula. At $8 million per WAR, 1.2 WAR is worth $9.6 million. How much do you add for intangibles? How much do you subtract (or shift to incentives) for late career risk of further decline?

    #127840
    Avatargscottar
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    Assuming. However, since Carpenter made enough plate appearances to satisfy his option in six of his seven full MLB seasons, at this point, I will assume the opposite – that it will vest. Then again, if his 2019 is his new normal, then not. (Remember that his 2020 PAs will be prorated for the partial season.)

    I wasn’t aware that an agreement had been reached on how to handle the 2020 vesting. If that is the case then that does help Carp’s chances but he still has to hit 1100 PA’s (prorated) for 2020 and 2021 to have his 2022 option vest. Depending on how he hits and how well Edman hits it still might be difficult for Carp to hit those objectives. Time will tell.

    Does that mean that Andrew Miller’s appearances will be prorated this year to help him with his vesting option? I think he only needed 37 appearances this year for 2021 to vest.

    #127841
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Yes, the proration would apply to everyone. Though in Miller’s case, based on the numbers you shared, vesting seemed pretty likely even before.

    As I understand it, and using your example, if Miller needed 37 appearances in a 162-game season, then in an 81-game season, he would need to make 19 appearances.

    #127842
    Avatarforsch31
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    I had stated prior that I would go no more than $12 million AAV. I would also go only 2 years. I might be willing to put an option for a third. How about $9 million base with $4 million incentives in 2021. $7 million base with $4 million in incentives for 2022. If there is an option for 2023, it would be $6 million base with $3 million in incentives. I hope that Herrera is ready to be the starter in 2022 or 2023. Yadi becomes his Mike Matheny.

    #127843
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Wow. By the end of 2023, Molina will be 41 years old.

    The difference between $10 MM and $13 MM (both including incentives) for 2021 is not that great, though I would dicker on the base vs. incentive mix. Where we really seem to differ is in going multiple years. Molina did not say he wanted to play after 2021, so why commit money and years to him that he isn’t even asking for?

    #127844
    Avatarforsch31
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    It might be enough of an incentive to get him to re-sign. He would know he could go out whenever he wanted. For the Cardinals, it assures that we have a competent catcher until Herrera is ready. I would look to trade Knizner while his value is high.

    #127845
    Avatar14NyquisT
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    I believe the Cards want some catching depth if an injury should occur in STL. Herrera isn’t quite ready for MLB. Knizner’s value might have slipped because he had so few games for the Cards and got rusty. It seems that his value will only rise if he shows MLB efficiency. He shouldn’t be counted out just yet.

    #127846
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    That would be a complete reverse of the script from January. At that time, Molina was content to retire if the Cards did not want him back in 2021. In this scenario, you would give him complete control for two or perhaps three more years.

    That would come with some real risks. What if he starts to show his age before then but wants to play to chase individual milestones? I respect Molina and what he has done, but considering what he wants and what I would want if I was representing the team, I would not go more than one year at a time.

    We just see it differently…

    #127847
    AvatarCardinals27
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    If baseball starts how are incentive bASed options on contracts handled? Pro rated?

    #127848
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Ny, if Molina is signed through 2022 with a 2023 option, Knizner’s value is higher elsewhere. (As I said, I would not do it that way, but I am going with forsch’s case…)

    #127849
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    C27 asked:

    If baseball starts how are incentive bASed options on contracts handled? Pro rated?

    Yes. Scroll up the page where gscottar and I discussed that.

    #127850
    Avatarforsch31
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    I think the option should be team controlled. I don’t want to make it Yadi’s choice. If he falls off the cliff, reject the option.

    All this could change depending on what he does this year, if there is a season. If he shows he is slipping a lot, 1 year at a time is the way to go. If he is holding fairly steady, 2 years plus a team option at REASONABLE figures is fair terms for a good catcher.

    #127851
    Avatar14NyquisT
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    And if Molina can’t go due to injury?

    There have been many young players that got a chance to play because of injuries to guys above of them. There should be some optimism and hope for our #4 prospect to succeed. Right or wrong?

    Maybe we could trade for a young proven catcher like Carson Kelly to make Kiz expendable. 🙂

    #127852
    Avatarmudville
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    Since Molina can’t be signed for less than $16M before free agency, I think they should just let him become a free agent so they can find out his market value. Then, decide if they want to pay him that much. None of the contracts in MLB make sense. Even the major league minimum of $563,500 is a ridiculous amount of money to give to a kid who is only 2-3 years out of high school or college and who was making $0 before he got drafted. So, IMO, there is really no such thing as a ‘fair’ amount of money to offer Yadi. But for the sake of discussion, while basing my appraisal on what I see and what I feel in my gut, I will say that they should offer him $5M plus incentives. If the market says he is worth more than that, I would probably walk unless there are serious doubts about who is replacement will be. Length of contract would have to be based on team options, and I don’t think there should be any negotiating around that.

    #127853
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    There is no magic answer regarding Knizner, but if he APPEARS to be blocked through at least 2022 (and maybe 2023) and his ONLY hope for regular playing time is waiting for a Molina injury, then the right thing for him personally and for the team as well would probably be to let him go elsewhere like they did for Kelly.

    At the end of 2023, when Molina will be 41, Knizner will be 28 years old. It would be unfair to ask him to play second fiddle that long and perhaps a waste of a valuable asset.

    It would really help if there will be a 2020 minor league season so we could see about Herrera’s advancement to potentially take Knizner’s place, just as Knizner slipped in when Kelly left.

    I am going to stop here because it might appear that I am advocating forsch’s scenario, which I am not. I am just helping to explain the potential ramifications of Molina playing longer than 2021.

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