Blog Entry

The case for & against the $75M Yadi Molina deal

Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:15 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 12:08 pm

JUPITER, Fla. -- As I warned Yadier Molina's agent, Melvin Roman, I was going to think/say/write the Cardinals got a great deal on Molina no matter what the deal was. I think he is that good. Roman is probably a little bit biased, but he called me over after the press conference to announce the signing to tell me he agrees with me.

Though clearly, not everyone does. A fairly strong stat-based case is being made on the internet (and below here) that $75 million for five years (plus a mutual sixth-year option) is an overpay.

I say, Molina's game isn't about numbers. I say, there are no comps for Molina because there is no one even close to like him.

The surprise here may be that the sides figured it out without too much trouble since no one's comparable. Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt and GM John Mozeliak agreed that it wasn't easy to put a pricetag on Molina because he is such a different player. He is the best defensive catcher in baseball, the best-throwing catcher, a clutch hitter and a winner. So ultimately, it wasn't about the comps, it was about the need and the desire.

"We couldn't take a chance of him being a free agent,'' DeWitt told me this morning.

I'm with him. But it's fair to present the other side. There's a big internet outcry, some but not all by the stat folks, that $15 million per year is to much for Molina. Here's how a friend of mine in baseball who analyzes these things put it for the other side:

"Good move by Yadier Molina. Cash in on a career year offensively and a second (winning) World Series. But buyer beware. He is coming off his first season with double digit home runs (14) and an OPS (.814) that is 100-plus points above his career average (.707). He had a .671 OPS in 2010 and I don't think that would get him $15 a year, even with his great defense.

"Twins got all giddy over Joe Mauer's 28 home run MVP season in 2009, numbers he likely will never reach again. They gave him $184 million. I'm sure they'd like a do-over on that contract.

"John Buck had a career year in '10 (20 home runs, .802 OPS) and that got him three years and $18 million (total) with the Marlins. Buck isn't anything close to Molina defensively, but, other that batting average, his career stats are on par with Molina. In fact, he has more power (90 home runs to 55 for Molina) through their free agent year Nobody is suggesting you;d take Buck over Molina. But it's obvious the Cardinals value Molina's intangibles/gamecalling, as they are paying him at a star rate.''

DeWitt had an answer, saying, "We didn't extend Molina because he had a good year offensively last year. We extended him because of the bulk of the work since he became a regular in 2005. He's been a key player on two World Series teams. He's won Gold Gloves. He's made All-Star teams multiple times.''

Beyond that, Molina brings things that can't be measured. He has tough at-bats at crucial moments (Mets fans know that, as do Rangers fans). He is tough mentally and physically. He doesn't miss games. The pitchers love him at a time they've lost Dave Duncan. As DeWitt said, they just couldn't take a chance.


Since: Jun 15, 2009
Posted on: March 29, 2012 3:55 pm

The case for & against the $75M Yadi Molina deal

Go ahead PyoRoshambo, right us off like all the other pudits.  I just love when the Cardinals are picked 2nd, 3rd, or worse.  Typically this is when the Cardinal rise to the top.  The Cardinals have so much history of winning, it will only continue.  You keep hating as we raise more championship banners.

Since: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 5:32 pm

The case for & against the $75M Yadi Molina deal

This article, I won't mess with. But, I have my opinion, too.

Yadier Molina is THE best catcher in the game. Period.

But, would you rather have him or the best hitter in the game (Mr. Pujols)?

Molina is the clubhouse leader. Pujols started a lot of controversy.

But in the end, who will carry this team? Holliday is always injured, Carpenter wants to retire, and Freese is way, WAY too young to carry a champion team

So, 15 million for Molina is a fair price. After all, the Angels definitely spent way more on Pujols than what is expected of him later

But, Pujols's hitting carried this team. He is clutch.

Plus, he was the most popular Cardinal. This doesn't matter to the players, but for the popularity, boy, does it diminish.

The Cards should have kept Pujols, but at a cheaper price. Then again, with Art and his Halos, that wouldn't be possible.

I'm sorry to say this, but boo-hoo Cards. Last year was your final moment of glory. 

Since: Jun 15, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:05 pm

The case for & against the $75M Yadi Molina deal

Personally, I am a little tired of hearing Molina is the best defensive catcher in the game.  That is a given.  But he is also a pretty damn good hitter, not only for average but in the clutch.  (just ask the Mets in Game 7 in New York during the 2006 NLCS).  the argument boils down to which player is easier replaced.  Now I agree, you don't replace the best player in the game.  But finding a player at 1B who can hit say .290 with 25 HRs is a lot easier than finding a catcher who can command the diamond like Molina and even hit .280.  Berkman can mitigate the loss of Pujols if he puts up numbers like he did last year.  Who out there (AL or NL) could the Cardinals sign to replace Molina?  Sorry, I don't see a viable replacement.

Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 7:36 pm

The case for & against the $75M Yadi Molina deal

No doubt Molina is the best defensive catcher in the game.   I still think Pujols was more important to sign.  If people think the 10 millions dollar difference over six years is that important I would argue with Pujols then dont sign Beltran and Furcal.  Sure those are short term deals, but my point is you find the 10 year by year.  If there wasnt money for both then I would go for Pujols and worry about picking up a catcher later.  I think St Louis drastically underestimated the importance of having the best hitter in baseball hitting 3rd every night, but we'll see.

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 7:27 pm

The case for & against the $75M Yadi Molina deal

Personally, I think El Birdos correctly identified their MOST irreplaceable guy.

Since: Jun 15, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 2:48 pm

The case for & against the $75M Yadi Molina deal

I believe that this signing (extension) of Yadier Molina is an attempt at repairing the FO image (CHEAP)
Wow, if offering a $200+ million dollar contract to Pujols is considered CHEAP, than, I guess you would be right.  Sorry, I don't see it that way.  The Cardinals made a smart business decision in regards to Albert.  They made the best offer they thought would work within their budget.  Had Albert signed, not sure they would be able to sign Molina.  And what about Adam Wainwright's contract coming up?  By not committing all their re$ource$ to one player, the Cardinals have better positioned themselves for years to come.

Yes, the loss of Albert sucks.  But having Lance Berkman filling in at first with Carlos Beltran in RF is not a bad plan B; not to mention Furcal holding down the SS position.  With Alan Craig an up and coming star, he could go to either RF or 1B. 

Molina is the best in the game so he is getting rewarded as such.  Joe Mauer is/was an anomoly.  This move was good for the Cardinals.  While Albert was easier to replace, Molina's prescence would not have been.

Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:43 am

The case for & against the $75M Yadi Molina deal

"We couldn't take a chance of him being a free agent,''

I agree!  But, why didn't this idea apply to Albert Pujols?  Just because of his age?  Actually, I believe that this signing (extension) of Yadier Molina is an attempt at repairing the FO image (CHEAP) and reputation as being cold and disrespectful towards established & solidly productive long term Cardinals players.

I understand the arguments in favor of Molina's extension.  It's the intangibles and defensive attributes that many offensive minded fans overlook that represent the bulk of Molina's value to the team.  As I said before, if he helps the pitchers on the team produce better than he deserves more recognition, respect and MONEY!

The Cardinals ARE NOT paying Molina $15 million/year for his batting prowess, it's for his defense, gamecalling and handling of the pitching (rotation and bullpen).

"Speed doesn't slump" can also apply to defense, brains, chemistry don't slump.  Obviously, they can slump but it is less likely that Yadier's special (non-batting) abilities will "slump" or decline anytime soon.  He is durable, hard-working, baseball smart, and has great rapport with pitchers and is not likely to change soon.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or