The St. Louis Cardinals have locked up their most indispensable player to a new contract.

The Cardinals and stalwart catcher Yadier Molina announced on Sunday that they agreed on a three-year, $60 million contract extension. The $20 million per season is the highest annual salary for an everyday catcher. 

Molina was set to become a free agent following the 2017 season. He reportedly set a deadline of Opening Day for contract talks, though the Cardinals made it clear they were willing to pay him well.

Even at age 34, the age when many catchers turn into pumpkins, Molina turned in an excellent 2016 season, hitting .307/.360/.427 (110 OPS+) with eight home runs in 147 games. He also played his typically excellent defense. Molina’s combination of production and durability would be impossible to replace.

Yadier Molina and the Cardinals have agreed to a new three-year extension. USATSI

The 2017 season was set to be the final one on the five-year, $75 million contract Molina signed back in March 2012. He has never been a free agent in his career. The Cardinals made sure to lock him up whenever his contract was due to expire. I can’t say I blame them.