photo: Yadier Molina via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to terms with catcher Yadier Molina on a one-year contract for the 2022 season. Other Tuesday system news is also included.
St. Louis Cardinals press release
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Tuesday, August 24) that they have agreed to terms with premier franchise catcher Yadier Molina on a one-year contract for the 2022 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“On behalf of the Cardinals and our fans, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Yadier Molina will continue his franchise legacy for another season in 2022,” stated Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. “Yadi has continued to play at an All-Star level this season, and has already established himself among the greatest players to have ever worn the birds on the bat.”
Molina, 39, a nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove award winner, four-time Platinum Glove winner and 10-time National League All-Star, has played every game of his career (2004-21) in a Cardinals uniform, totaling 2,119 games over 18 Major League seasons. His 2,080 career games behind the plate are the most of any catcher for just one team.
“We are pleased to announce that Yadi has agreed to cement his career legacy with the Cardinals for a final season in 2022,” said Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “His experience, leadership, work ethic and winning desire are all part of what we value as an organization.”
Molina’s 18 seasons played solely for the Cardinals, trail only Stan Musial’s record 22 seasons. He and Adam Wainwright have paired up in 298 games, ranking 4th all-time in Major League history in games started as battery mates.
Molina has helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series four times (2004, 2006, 2011, 2013) and won World Series Championships in 2006 and 2011. He is currently the active leader in Major League Baseball postseason games played and hits (both 101), the all-time leader among all National League players (6th overall in MLB history) and he has played in more postseasons than any other Cardinal in franchise history with 11.
Among catching leaders, Molina leads all Cardinals and ranks among Major League historical leaders in several categories: 4th in games caught (2,080) and starts at catcher (2,014), 5th in innings caught (17,441.2), 4th in pick-offs (52); 2nd in putouts (14,446) and total chances (15,551) and 10th in caught stealing percentage (40.4%).
Molina leads all Cardinals in sacrifice flies (73), ranks 3rd in games played (2,119), 3rd in at-bats (7,455), 4th in doubles (397) and hits (2,089), 7th in runs batted in (983) and total bases (3,004), and 10th in home runs (168) and extra base hits (572). On September 24, 2020 Molina became the sixth Cardinals player, and only the 11th primary Major League catcher to record 2,000 career hits.
Yadier was the recipient of the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball’s highest service-based honor. Molina’s off-the-field philanthropic efforts includes Foundation 4, his non-profit charity whose mission is to create happier lives and futures for underprivileged children in Puerto Rico. Yadier’s efforts following the 2017 damage done by Hurricane Maria to the island raised over $800,000, as well as his hands-on efforts less than 48 hours following the catastrophic weather ordeal. Molina was also voted the 2015 Darryl Kile Award recipient by his teammates.
Molina was drafted by the Cardinals in the 4th round (113th overall selection) of the 2000 Major League Baseball draft out of Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
Yadier is currently ranked 12th all-time among native Puerto Rican’s in career batting average (.280) and he is one of just 10 players from his homeland to have reached the 2,000 career hit plateau. Yadi currently stands 12th in RBI (983) among his countrymen and 17th in home runs (168).
Since its inception in 2006, Molina has played in every World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico, totaling 20 games in the global pre-season tournament, finishing runner-up with the 2017 team, while garnering MVP honors for Pool F.
Brian Walton’s take
Molina’s 2022 salary will be $10 million, per Katie Woo of The Athletic. This represents a $1 million increase over his current one-year deal.
Next up: Adam Wainwright.
Yadier Molina confirms that 2022 will be his final season. He says 19 years is a long career and he hopes to bring the World Series trophy back to St. Louis this year and next year #STLCards pic.twitter.com/2vNxLjs1Jp
— KMOXSports (@KMOXSports) August 25, 2021
Other Tuesday Cardinals system news
- OF Dylan Carlson (right wrist) activated from St. Louis 10-day IL.
- OF Austin Dean optioned to Memphis by St. Louis.
- RHR Salvador Justo activated from Springfield’s 7-day IL.
- C Alejandro Loaiza transferred from DSL Blue roster to DSL Red.
- C Justin Guerrero transferred from DSL Red roster to DSL Blue.
The first two transactions reverse a pair announced one week earlier, on August 17. Carlson’s IL move to give him time to rest and recover from a sprained wrist was backdated to August 14, which enabled him to return today, August 24. He should return to his regular starting job in right field.
With Carlson out, the opportunity to start in right was given to rookie Lars Nootbaar instead of Dean. The latter made just four plate appearances in four games, going 1-for-3 including two strikeouts plus a walk for a small window slash line of .333/.500/.333/.833.
Playing time in the Memphis outfield will be tighter than when Dean left, as Nick Plummer was just added to the Redbirds roster, as well. Others competing for playing time on the AutoZone Park grass are Alec Burleson, Scott Hurst, Conner Capel and Clint Coulter. Justin Williams remains on the injured list.
The right-hander’s second 2021 IL stint began on August 3, meaning this was a three-week outage. Justo, 26, last pitched on July 28. For the season, the right-hander has a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings over 16 appearances. A major concern is 14 hits (including four home runs) and 15 walks yielded.
Loaiza, 17, was signed as an international free agent this January. In his 11-game professional DSL Blue debut, the right-handed hitter slashed .172/.233/.307/.540.
Swapping roster spots with Loaiza is the 18-year-old Guerrero. Though the 18-year-old was signed 18 months earlier than Loaiza, Guerrero made his professional debut at the same time due to the COVID-canceled 2020 season.
In his nine career games, all with the DSL Red, Guerrero went 2-for-24 with four walks and 11 strikeouts. His slash line was .083/.214/.083/.298.
To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.
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