The St. Louis Cardinals have re-signed stalwart catcher Yadier Molina to a one-year contract, the team announced Tuesday. This ends several months of ongoing rumors regarding the negotiations between the two sides.
"We are pleased to announce that Yadier has agreed to continue his legacy career as a member of the Cardinals, and remain the centerpiece of our team," Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. "His experience, leadership, work ethic and ability to help bring out the best in those around him are special qualities. We know that there is no one who is more driven than Yadi to get the Cardinals another shot at the title."
Molina, 38, now heads to his 18th season with the Cardinals, who drafted him out of high school in the fourth round in 2000. He debuted at the big-league level in 2004 at age 21.
Since then, Molina has won nine Gold Gloves, four platinum gloves, a Silver Slugger, two World Series and been to the All-Star Game nine times. He's racked up 2,001 hits, 381 doubles, 160 homers, 932 RBI and 713 runs in the regular season while slashing .281/.333/.404. In 101 playoff games, Molina has hit .280 with 19 doubles, four homers and 36 RBI.
Behind the plate, Molina has led the league in caught stealing percentage four times and has long been regarded as one of the best in the business at dealing with a pitching staff.
In 42 games last season, Molina hit .262/.303/.359 (81 OPS+) with four homers and 16 RBI.
At this point, Molina is likely to slot toward the end of the batting order with lion's share of his value coming from leadership, defense and working with the pitchers. Now with Molina signed, he again sits atop the depth chart at catcher for the organization. Andrew Knizner looks like the backup while Tyler Heineman provides depth.
The Cardinals recently made a huge splash in trading for star third baseman Nolan Arenado. In the meantime, they've also brought back franchise fixtures Adam Wainwright and now Molina.
Our R.J. Anderson ranked Molina the No. 24 available free agent this offseason.