How much should the Cardinals offer Yadier Molina?

In yesterday’s post, we looked at some of the factors surrounding the upcoming free agency of St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. In a poll at the conclusion of the article, I gave readers several voting options to specify what they think the Cardinals should do. Over 80 percent are in favor of the club trying to work out a deal into the fall.

The logical follow-on question to those voters is to ask where they would draw the line in terms of dollars and years. That is the purpose of this post.

Here are a few data points to consider.

Molina currently makes $7 million in the fifth and final year of his contract signed with the Cardinals prior to the 2008 season. He will celebrate his 30th birthday in July.

Minnesota’s Joe Mauer has the largest contract in MLB history for a catcher, eight years, $184 million. It started in 2011, his age 28 year, and pays him an even $23 million per season.

Detroit’s Victor Martinez, who recently suffered a season-ending injury, signed a four-year, $50 million free agent deal one year ago. The average annual value (AAV) of his deal, covering his age 32-35 seasons, works out to $12.5 million, just over half of Mauer’s annual take.

A number of front-line catchers could hit the market next fall, including Russell Martin, Miguel Montero and Mike Napoli. Others with 2013 club options include Brian McCann ($12 million) and Carlos Ruiz ($5 million).

Against that backdrop, what are your limits? Please vote and explain below.

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