The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Thursday that they have signed catcher Yadier Molina to a five-year extension for $75 million. $15 million per year for Yadier Molina?! Who’s the one dumb owner now?
I should point out that this is not sour grapes, although Molina did break the hearts of every Mets fan with that tie-breaking two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS (left). That moment crushed me more than any other moment in my sports-watching life.
I should also point out that I am not an expert on Yadier Molina. I know he is considered the best defensive catcher in baseball, he is apparently the glue that keeps the Cardinals team together, and his brother Bengie is still pissed off at the Mets.
He is a mediocre hitter at best, however he did have his best season at the plate last year, batting .305 with 14 home runs and 65 RBIs. He is only 29, so perhaps he is just hitting his stride as a batter.
But at $75 million (and the potential to earn $90 million), this is the third richest contract ever given to a catcher, behind Joe Mauer’s $184 million and Mike Piazza’s $91 million deal from the Mets. Is Molina that good?
This is the same team that didn’t want to pay Albert Pujols $25 million per year, yet is is paying Molina $15 million and Carlos Beltran $13 million. Whom would you rather have, Pujols or Molina and Beltran at three million more? It should be pointed out that Molina’s contract doesn’t kick in until next season, Beltran only signed a two-year deal and Pujols wanted a 10-year deal, but still.
Having a strong defensive catcher is very important and is a highly valued commodity, but Molina is now being paid like a superstar, and let’s face it, Molina ain’t no superstar. I can’t imagine he would have commanded more than $10 million per year as a free agent after the season, if that much, despite the dearth of quality catchers in the league. I am truly stunned by this deal.
Photo courtesy Scott Rovak